Women’s Conference Shed Light on Dark Issues

444 ABy Roxi Sepulveda

Status of Women Conference at College of Southern Nevada focused on issues women face. Intimate-partner violence, lack of criminal-justice support and human-trafficking atrocities were topics of discussion. Women shared their stories in hopes of inspiring students to take action.

The event was hosted by the Women’s Alliance, a campus organization dedicated to inspiring women to succeed, was held at Nicholas J. Horn Theatre on Tuesday, March 8. Approximately 48 people attended and 54 online.

Keynote speaker Barbara Buckley, former Nevada Assemblywoman and current executive director of Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, spoke on empowering women through education.

“As we look at the status of women today let’s be inspired,” said Buckley, from the stage. “Let’s be inspired by the women who went before us. Let’s be inspired by the women who make our state and community a little bit better every day in everything they do.”

Buckley continued, “Let’s be inspired by the future generations of leaders, which is you—our students—who will continue the progress that we have made until we reach the day when men and women are celebrated for their differences but not adversely treated as a result of them.”

University of Nevada, Las Vegas criminal justice Professor Gillian Pinchevsky spoke at the event. She thought it was important to take part in this conference to shed light on issues facing women that are often ignored specifically intimate-partner violence and criminal-justice-system issues.

“More than one-in-four women and more than one-in-10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner,” as reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 National Intimate Violence Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.

Those statistics are likely not representative of the actual numbers as many people do not report.

Pinchevsky mentioned how some victims do not approach authorities such as immigrants who might be afraid of being deported if they come forward. She wants safe outlets for them to seek help if they encounter violence. Better support systems and education will help.

Camille Naaktgeboren, CSN professor, spoke at the event on sex trafficking.

Since 2007 the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline has received reports of 14,588 sex trafficking cases inside the United States, according to Polaris, a global organization working to eradicate modern slavery.

This is a huge issue that people need to talk about more, especially in our city.

Audience member Diane Wrightman said, “It is important for women to feel empowered by others. Being able to have women leaders in our community share their experiences, struggles, triumphs can only help other women who are finding out who they are or how strong their voices can really be.”

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Sondra Cosgrove

Dr. Sondra Cosgrove, professor at CSN and president of League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization, was the coordinator of the event. She was inspired by the United Nations’ recent effort to draw attention to global issues facing women.

Cosgrove’s experiences with UN Women inspired her to bring this event to CSN to discuss these difficult issues.

“We thought there’s definitely an appetite; there’s definitely an interest,” Cosgrove said. “I hope that every person that attended this event in person or online came away with new information about violence against women and a sense that every person can do something to address this problem. The more people who are aware and willing to act, the more likely it will be that violence against women will become rare.”

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