Poetry helps raise awareness about dating and sexual violence

Citlally Arroyo Mendoza, News Reporter

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Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) sponsored the CSUSM NO More Week from Mar. 5 to 8, as part of the National NO More Week, a week dedicated to the commitment of ending dating and sexual violence.

SHCS along with the HOPE and Wellness Center, Gender Equity Center, Office of Inclusive Excellence, Women’s Studies Department and the Communications Department hosted this Poetry helps raise awareness about dating and sexual violence event.

As part of NO More Week, Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre led five workshops throughout the week and on Mar. 7 he gave a keynote performance in the USU Ballroom from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Tran, author of A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry, is an MC, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator. His work focuses on several social issues and has been featured on Upworthy, Everyday Feminism, MSNBC, The Huffington Post and many other platforms.

Tran began by saying, “I’m interested in dialogue and informality…and kind of diffusing authority…The poem is never the most valuable thing, the poem is an entry point into that dialogue, where the actual change and growth can happen.”

He explained that some of his poems explicitly addressed sexual violence, rape culture and consent. He also wanted to talk about “agency, power and activism…and the idea that young people, especially college students are at the forefront of so many social movements and cultural movements.”

Tran performed six of his poems, including “Handshakes,” “Ten Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up’ ” and “Consent at 10,000 Feet.” His poems “Handshakes” and “Ten Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up’” were about challenging masculinity. The poems touched upon men’s responsibilities to push back against rape culture and gender violence.

After he performed his three poems, Tran asked the audience members if they wanted to share their thoughts or ask questions.
Few audience members shared their views that Tran’s poems provoked.

Tran encouraged the audience to write their ideas on a large whiteboard next to the stage about the actions people can take to end sexual violence as individuals, in the community and on an international or policy level. He emphasized the importance of action and agency in order to bring change.

Gaby Flores, a third year Communications major, heard about Tran’s spoken word performance from her Women’s Studies 205: Feminism and Pop Culture class.

Tran visited her class prior to the event, but Flores said she “felt so empowered that [she] decided to attend the performance.”

“Other people aren’t speaking about this stuff, and I think [Tran is] a great resource to speak for those people who are being silenced. I think he speaks for those who can’t speak up, not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t or are ashamed,” said Flores.

Students may contact Christa Wencl, Sexual Violence Advocate and Educator if they wish to seek support and resources. She is located in the Student Health and Counseling Services.

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