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‘Beyond #MeToo’ conference to examine sexual violence globally

MIDDLEBURY — The stories of sexual violence survivors have become increasingly recognized on the world stage; indeed, sexual violence transcends cultural, religious, racial, class, and national identities, making it an epidemic of global proportions.
Middlebury College’s Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs’ annual student-organized conference, “Beyond #MeToo: Global Responses to Sexual Violence in an Age of Reckoning,” will be held at the college Jan. 22–24. The conference will push beyond the U.S.-centric conception of #MeToo and responses to sexual violence to inform participants about the wide ranging and diverse tactics that activists are using around the world to combat sexual assault. Experts from the greater New England area will analyze what the New York Times deems the “global reckoning over sexual violence.”
Middlebury College students Grace Vedock and Taite Shomo designed the conference to tackle questions such as: How do states protect or fail to protect victims of sexual assault? How do different areas of the world respond to sexual assault? How can global governance structures prevent sexual violence? Do laws adequately protect victims? And what does it mean to give survivors a voice — locally, nationally, and internationally?
Beyond #MeToo will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. with a screening of “Roll Red Roll,” a documentary about sexual assault in a small town. Set in Steubenville, Ohio, the film was featured at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival in 2018.
On Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 2 p.m., Professor Janet Johnson of Brooklyn College, CUNY will deliver a lecture on Russian women’s ambivalence to claiming sexual autonomy. At 4 p.m., Tina Escaja, Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Vermont will present “#Cuéntalo: Black Moon/Luna Morada and the #MeToo Movement en Español.” At 7 p.m. there will be a screening of “UN Sex Abuse Scandal,” a short Frontline documentary about abuses of power in the U.N. Peacekeeping Force, followed by a discussion facilitated by Sarah Stroup, Associate Professor of Political Science at Middlebury.
On Thursday, Jan. 24, at 3 p.m., Professor Rangita de Silva de Alwis of the University of Pennsylvania Law School will present on the gaps and inconsistencies of international legal proceedings regarding sexual violence.
The three lectures will take place in the Robert A. Jones ’59 House conference room at 148 Hillcrest Road., while the two screenings will take place in room 232 in the Axinn Center at Starr Library. All events are free and open to the public. For further information contact Robin Vincent  at rvincent@middlebury.edu.

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