“It was an incredible opportunity to enrich our global awareness in regards to human rights and domestic violence through the different perspectives given to us by global figures such as Josina Z Machel. It was an inspiration and reminder to continue to not take our rights for granted, as well as to keep advocating for the progress of our society.” -Coco Bentaieb
On Monday, October 3rd, the ISI Social Justice Club, lead by Mady Neal, Sonia DiOrio, and Juliette Barrere had the privilege to attend the Game Changers Forum, hosted by the Desmond Tutu Center and SOHO (Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach). Upon arrival, the 7 students had the opportunity to hear poignant discussions by Josina Z Machel, stepdaughter to Nelson Mandela as she related her personal struggles combating domestic abuse and getting justice for her own story, as well as Gail Masondo, a spiritual leader and psychologist who deals with cases of sexual assault and domestic abuse against women and girls daily.
This once in a lifetime event had a pivotal impact on all representatives of the social justice club. As Felice Brokaw, a senior stated: “The meeting was heartbreaking and eye opening. One of the most effective ways to spread a message is by being upfront and honest to the point of discomfort… I feel like that is why this forum was so effective, and why those involved will be able to make a true difference in the world.” Not only did these students have thoughtful conversations between themselves, but they had access to other community involvement and spoke with representatives of various organizations around Indianapolis and the world. In her interview with the Indianapolis Star, Sonia DiOrio (also a senior) said “these speakers have shown me I can do something. We have a voice.” And a voice no doubt that will transcend class activities and make a broader difference in the ISI community.
As I myself have learned, there is hope to a seemingly endless cycle of sexism and belittlement and abuse against women, girls, and men (though afforded even less
publicity than that of women and girls). Through events such as these, in which like-minded individuals join together and learn not only of the efforts already being done, but how to get involved on our own; a reassuring feat for those of us entering the collegiate realm that poses many more dangers to women even than high school.
The Social Justice Club, prompted by the inspirational efforts of Masonda, Machel, and countless other community leaders in the eradication of sexual assault and domestic abuse, is committed to making a change in our high school, and prompting club members and classmates to make the positive difference we aspire to as global citizens.
I was so thankful to be part of this event, and learned so much about the various organizations that support women and men in difficult situations.
One of the most fascinating topics the panelists discussed was related to the #HeforShe initiative (most famously known for its outspoken figurehead, Emma Watson), and suggested that though women compose half of the world’s population, abuse and domestic assault impacts human beings of all genders and sexes, and we cannot hope to entirely eradicate sexual abuse and domestic assault without the help of men and boys.
Overall, it was quite the experience and I would like to say a huge thank you to my fellow club leaders, Sonia DiOrio and Juliette Barrere, to our club supervisor, Mrs. Detrick, and to the club members that took the entire day to take part in this once in a lifetime event.
For more information, click here, to see the Indy Star article!
*Note, some pictures were taken from the Indy Star article, as stated in those pictures’ captions.