by Jasmine Cruz
Time’s Up Ateneo (TUA) has been continuing its activities throughout the pandemic. Last January 29, 2021, TUA held an advocacy training with Ms. Aimee Santos-Lyons, National Program Officer for Gender and Gender-Based Violence Unit of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). After some introductions, Ms. Santos-Lyons informed us of what we can do if we get triggered by the discussion. She told us to feel free to step out of the Zoom room and take care of ourselves. She also said that if we wanted to come back but didn’t know how to compose ourselves, we can try these grounding techniques: look for something blue and focus on that, or get a hard object and squeeze it. She then asked the participants to take turns in reading aloud the poem by Beth Strano which begins, “There is no such thing as a ‘safe space.’” This set the tone for the rest of the training.
We proceeded with a visioning exercise. She asked participants to use the Jamboard to write or put images that answered the questions: What would justice in your community look like, smell like, feel like, sound like, taste like? What actions, work, or activities bring you closer to justice? After the participants explained their answers, she then helped us outline the common values that our answers revealed which are: building communities for healing, rest and renewal, learning, and imagining justice; story-telling; holding perpetrators and enablers accountable for their actions; mutual aid and care; increased access to service and justice; and engaging in acts of solidarity and resistance.
The second activity was a values clarification exercise where she showed a few statements on issues related to sexual violence and gender. The members were asked to place themselves on a line with the rightmost end for those who strongly disagree, the leftmost end for those who strongly agree, and the middle for a neutral stance. For most of the issues, members clustered around the same area, but there were still variances in how much they agreed or disagreed with the statement. A few members were called on to explain the reasons behind their stances, and we were able to hear different perspectives on these issues despite largely agreeing with each other, especially in terms of our core values. She concluded the activity by saying, “You don’t always have to hold the same opinion on every issue, but you have to understand where people are coming from.”
Time’s Up Ateneo (TUA) is a collective of Ateneo de Manila University students, faculty, alumni, and parents fighting against sexual violence and impunity in the university and beyond. Connect with TUA through email, Facebook, Twitter, and our website. For its first anniversary, TUA launched the Stories of Resistance, Stories of Hope: A Series of Online Testimonials about the October 15, 2019 Protest and the Anti-Sexual Violence Movement in Ateneo (https://timesupateneo.org/stories), where survivors and advocates expressed themselves through written pieces, videos, and art. Check out TUA’s podcast episodes with Chikang Bayi entitled “Dear Time’s Up Ateneo – Hoy Misogyny, Time’s Up!” (bit.ly/DearTUA1) and “Dear Time’s Up Ateneo – No More Time for Enablers” (bit.ly/DearTUA2). Register for the 12th National Conference of the Women’s and Gender Studies Association of the Philippines where TUA will present our study on retaliation against sexual violence survivors and advocates at https://tinyurl.com/12th-wsap-conference.