The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Women on South discuss violence, changes in society

By Brittany Dickey/reporter

The South Campus Student Center was bustling with activity Saturday morning for the ninth annual Women’s Symposium sponsored by Women in New Roles.

“It was an awesome symposium with 151 registered and 37 vendors,” said Triesha Light, South WINR director and event chair.

With the theme, Redefining Ourselves: Regain, Reclaim, Renew, participants heard a presentation by Forest Hill Municipal Court Judge Bobbie Edmonds, visited exhibits, networked and ended the day with a presentation by Dr. Sherry Dean, executive dean at Dallas’ Richland College.

Vendors offered a variety of information and products representing non-profit organizations such as Meals on Wheels.

Several individuals sold arts and crafts and homemade items. One of the vendors, Natasha Boggan, had a table with baby clothes and handmade bags, including one she made from Maruchan noodles packaging.

Another vendor, Safe Haven of Tarrant County, gave out candy and pamphlets about its services for abused women and their children.

• • •

Fear is a major reason people do not report domestic abuse, Edmonds, a municipal judge and private lawyer, said during the symposium’s opening session.

Graduating from Southern University A&M with an interior design degree, Edmonds received a jurist doctorate at Southern University of Law in Baton Rouge before moving to Texas to start her own law practice.

“Women and men are often fearful of telling others about the abuse,” she said.

Edmonds said many women believe that if they tell, they will be killed or harmed by the abuser.

“Men too,” she said. “Some women beat up on men.” 

Although some victims fear reporting domestic violence because they want to be protected from the abuser, Edmonds said the protection of the abused is ever-evolving.

“Laws in general are much stricter,” she said.

If 9-1-1 is called and the police are sent out to a residence, more than likely someone is going to jail, Edmonds said. If the police see any indicators that violence has occurred, such as a punched wall or a bruised spouse, the person inflicting the abuse will go to jail.

“The consequences of domestic violence are costly,” she said

A person charged with abuse can get a $10,000 bond when allowed to post bail, Edmonds said. If convicted, one must consider the probation and/or jail time one might get.

“Think before you slap, kick or punch your spouse,” she said.

Edmonds said that instead of hitting a spouse, abusers need to learn other ways to deal with stress. She said some stress factors can be released with counseling or a friend.

“In the black community, mental illness is taboo,” she said. “An individual could go their whole life untreated.”

This fear or misjudgment of mental health doctors only perpetuates the problem of abuse, Edmonds said.

To help stop this problem, she said people should start open discussions with parents and grandparents on any concern or problem. She said domestic violence is made worse by untreated mental illness.

“This feeds the problem,” she said.

Student Jasmine Livings said she was really encouraged by the speech and learned to accept herself.

“Look at yourself through a microscope and realize that you are trapped,” Edmonds advised abuse victims.

They might need to go to attend counseling sessions not necessarily because of mental illness. They just need help, Edmonds said.

• • •

Women’s roles have changed and are evolving, but they still have several challenges to overcome, a college administrator told Women’s Symposium participants in the closing session.

“We have a responsibility to ask ourselves why things are happening the way they are with women in our worlds,” said Dean, executive dean of humanities and performing arts at Richland College in Dallas. “I don’t know if things will ever be equal.”

Although women now are the majority of the working class at 57 percent and have more successful businesses than male business owners,

Dean said things like feticide and infanticide are happening in China and other nations.

“Are women’s rights improving?” she said. “It depends on what you choose to focus on.”

Because of culture pressure in China to have a boy, many of the girl babies are killed or neglected, Dean said.

“Men carry the family name,” she said.

Therefore, Dean said, girls are viewed as less valuable than men. In places like Senegal and China, many girls are denied education. Senegal has a 35 percent literacy rate.

“If you don’t see that as a problem, then something’s wrong,” she said.

Also, girls reaching adolescence in other countries and America are susceptible to sex slavery and trafficking. Dean said women are often lured by a decent job offer, then kidnapped or threatened and kept against their will.

Some of these women do not know English or the American culture, and some do not have anyone because their families live in other countries.

“This is happening right under our noses,” she said. “If you’re not mad about this, you should be.”

Dean said 27 million people are enslaved across the country, and criminals run their slave shops like Fortune 500 companies.

Even though statistics show that women are more successful and closer to equality than ever before, Dean said their overall happiness has decreased.

“There is a lot of media pressure for males and females,” she said.

Dean said only 5 percent of women in the world are born looking like the pictures seen in magazines.

“Most of us will never look like that,” she said.

Yet by age 14, Dean said more than 50 percent of girls say they don’t like their bodies.

She said all women should ask themselves what they can do to make a difference.

“I feel responsible as a citizen because what if it were me in the situation?” she said.

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