COASA hosts women empowerment event

Women Empowering Women sets to bring women together. Photo by COASA.

TYLER KEOHANE | Reporter

The Campus Organization Against Sexual Assault hosted the Women Empowering Women event in the Hyland VIP Room on Wednesday.

COASA president Haley Holman led the event to about 20 women participants to spread female positivity and empowerment to women, from women.

Four woman panelists told their stories and focused on specific topics related to women’s empowerment.

The panel included Rebecca Thompson, a court advocate for Turning Point Advocacy Services; Hayley Holman, who represented Safe Connections, whose main focus is to prevent domestic and sexual violence among men and women; Heather Pennington, the Title IX coordinator at Lindenwood University; and Madeleine Raineri, a senior at Lindenwood and Lindenlink’s News Editor who shared her blog post about her experience with women empowerment and sisterhood.

Thompson said Turning Point helps women in many different ways, including court advice, “[We’re] advocating for them when they can’t advocate for themselves.”

Help is always available at Turning Point. Thompson referred to the 24-hour hotline that is available to anyone who needs it.

Thompson said she was honored to be invited to speak, and the best way COASA can help is to be a source of referral, “it’s imperative to believe women with their story.”

Following Thompson was Holman. As well as hosting the event, Holman also focused on a group that specializes in helping people get out of abusive relationships and back on their feet. This group is called Safe Connections. According to Safe Connection’s website, they have been helping victims of domestic violence by providing a hotline and counseling services since its creation in 1976.

Safe Connections also provides education services to middle school and high school students. Safe Connections also provides help to men.

“These are human issues, not just women’s issues,” Holman said.

“[We’re] advocating for them when they can’t advocate for themselves.”

-Rebecca Thompson

One in three women has experienced some form of sexual assault or violence, according to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence. However, women can also feel less than empowered through disabilities.

Pennington talked about a program she’s involved in called Lift Disability Network.

“Believing in what’s impossible is what our organization is all about,” Pennington said. Pennington is married to a man who is a quadriplegic and completely independent.

Pennington said there were three questions she would always ask herself when confronting difficult situations:

“What am I finding hope in?” She said to ask this question before she finds herself in the midst of her conflict.

“What will I get from this?” She said this question is a search for an outcome.

The final question focused on words that begin with “re.” Some examples were “How can I rebuild, respect myself, and reset” after a conflict has been dealt with.

Pennington can be located in her office at the Field House in room 105.

Raineri spoke last. She read her blog post titled “My sister’s keeper.”

“How do I begin to conquer the thousands and thousands of years of conditioning which has pitted woman against woman, sister against sister?” Raineri asked. She went on to talk about her own experiences with girls in grade school, and how society perceives women should be.

Her message was that women need to stick together in a world that turns them against each other.

COASA at Lindenwood wants to grow to raise awareness of sexual assaults and violence on campus. To sign up, log in to Involve U and help out with organizing events, and be involved in meetings.

Raineri said, “We can all shine together, hand in hand.”

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