Photo by Grace Goldman
“Are you a feminist?”
“Do you believe in the equality of the genders?”
“Then you are a feminist.”
Feminist club presidents and seniors Ellie Van Gorden, Iman Jaroudi, Hazel Carson, Isabella Kloster and senior secretary Dean Gray have heard this over and over again. Their goal was to not only start a dialogue, but leave the conversation about feminism and sexual assault open for years after they graduate.
In the early stages of feminist club, 45 people crowded into Mr. Klein’s room to discuss feminist issues and share their personal experiences with gender inequality. Now, the club is doing more than talking; they hope to make a lasting impression with their video entitled “No More,” a project to combat and raise awareness for sexual assault.
The video will premiere in advisory the Wednesday after Thanksgiving break. The opening will be a compilation of headshots of students wearing a black shirt and holding a sign reading “No More.” The video will feature interviews with students about their experiences with sexual assault.
After seeing the entire school wear black for the “Wear Black to Stop Attack” movement last October, the club realized sexual assault was a powerful issue that could bring the student body together.
The club leaders never guessed they would have over 200 students sharing their personal stories of sexual assault. The amount of responses empowers the group to work harder to make a quality video that will be published online that’ll leave a permanent digital footprint.
“You never know when the person sitting next to you in class could be a victim,” Jaroudi said. “This video is going to show it has happened to the people you know and care about in these walls. If you don’t care about it now, this is the time to start caring about it.”
Van Gorden has taken Video Productions and is doing the editing, but as Jaroudi puts it, it’s a real “grassroots” project because they’re making it by themselves without a budget or an advisor. They enjoy that aspect of it because it shows that the video is student-born, student-made and coming from their hearts.
In order to stay strong for the girls, Van Gorden tries not to cry. But it’s hard. The victims are sharing a deeply personal instance that she can’t do anything to change what has happened. Phone interviews are the hardest because it’s hard to comfort victims through the phone.
“[The victims] are always like ‘Thank you so much’ and it’s like no thank you for showing me that everything does turn out ok and that people aren’t alone,” Van Gorden said.
The club leaders will work to find replacement presidents, but they don’t have control of what will happen after graduation. To Van Gorden, it’s not necessarily goodbye, but her final stamp on the club.
“We want to have a lasting impact and that’s what this video is going to do,” Van Gorden said.
Sidebar by Katie Hise