Trips and Guest Speakers for Object/Defy Campaign (with pictures)

Tara Abrol

We have already had a wonderful guest speaker Tara Abrol, the founder of, who spoke about various kinds of abuse that happen in relationships, consent, and helped us analyze the popular song “Blurred Lines” and critique its message. The students were so happy to have had those conversations and all realized that there were so many kinds of behaviors that they had not realized were abusive. They want future students at MCS to have these kinds of workshops as well and are talking to school leadership about that.

NYCORE Panel on Sexism and Patriarchy

The New York Collective of Radical Educators hosted a panel with the amazing speakers who talked about the work they do in and out of the classroom around street harassment, empowering young women, and fighting male supremacy. MCS students were the youngest there and asked very important and insightful questions. It included the following organizations:

  • Girls for Gender Equity (
  • Hollaback! (
  • SPARK (
  • And Ileana Jimenez ( also serving as moderator

Student quote: “I liked the part that was interactive and I got to hear lots of stories from teachers and their students and people who were victims and just to know that there were other people out there who were also working on it. It made me feel like we could be supportive.”

Hollaback: Revolution 2015

This event at the New School University expanded the discussion of street harassment to look at it’s impact on diverse communities including women of color, Muslims, LGBTQ, and other groups. It featured inspiring activists, dancers, and poets all working to address this and related issues. Again, MCS students participated in the Q and A and brought up great points!

Student quotes:
“The second speaker was really interesting because she started the hashtag #youoksis, that she was able to create a hashtag for women of color, because they were getting more harassment or more violent harassment, especially where they are living. Now people all over the country are using it.”

“All the speakers were really cool, and this one guy Q was doing some really cool work. Before he started talking about his work, I didn’t really realize what role guys could play. It was really cool how he was engaging young men in a predominantly female topic or issue.”

The Hunting Ground 
This documentary about sexual assault on campus brought 28 students and almost half as many parents out to the theater. The documentary powerfully tells the story of students, both male and female, who had been assaulted and then had their school blame them, shut them down, or otherwise fail to help. It highlights the problem that because universities rely on their reputation, they would rather downplay the issue, thus letting predators roam free where they often repeat the crime several times.

Student quotes:
“There were so many different kinds of victim blaming, they found so many different ways to blame the victim, it was astounding.”  

“With the case of Jameis Winston, they were interviewing people and everyone was saying, ‘This poor guy, this poor football player, this is going to ruin his life’ and what about the victim?”

“There were so many expulsions for cheating on tests but none for sexual assault. Even though it’s not on record that there were so many sexual assaults at some of the most renown colleges or universities, those were some of the places where it happened the most. And they led to no expulsions. That was ridiculous, they should be arrested, or at least expelled.”

“It made me feel really frustrated with how our system handles victims. For example, Jameis Winston suffered no consequences in his life, but the girl was run out of town. The way we handle things was a real let down.”

“The things people were saying about the victim, ‘how this one girl got jealous’ or that she was a liar. It was so upsetting. Imagine this awful thing happens to you, you have the courage to come out about it and everyone just shuts you down. That’s horrible.”

Hank Willis Thomas: "Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015,"
Students traveled to the Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea to see this art exhibit which features one advertisement per year for 100 years. The artist removed all text, leaving only the images to highlight the representation of white women in advertising. The students engaged in very interesting conversations about the images, highlighting the racism, objectification, cultural appropriation inherent in the images. One major revelation for the students was that the images seemed to get progressively more explicit, sexualized, and objectified. 

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