Alumna to present on #MeToo movement to open Women’s History Month

Hannah Shillo, Entertainment Reporter

Eastern is kicking off Women’s History and Awareness Month (WHAM) with “The #MeToo Movement: Transition From Outrage to Action” with keynote speaker and Eastern alumna Julie Proscia on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Doudna Lecture Hall.

English professor Marjorie Worthington said Proscia is part of an Illinois Senate Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and will talk about her experiences on the task force.

She said the idea for the keynote came from the multiple high-profile sexual abuse allegations that were brought to attention in 2017.

“Many women have experienced these types of issues,” Worthington said. “We are angry; now what?”

Worthington said while this is the biggest event for WHAM, there will also be other events throughout the month including a feminist film festival, a concert of women composers and a student presentation with the date to be determined.

She said the student presentation will focus on issues of the #MeToo movement as well as the Black Lives Matter movement and the ways they overlap.

All are welcome to attend the event, Worthington said, as the issues affect everyone.

“Even though it is Women’s History and Awareness Month, obviously these issues affect men as well,” she said. “Everyone knows someone who has had this experience, so this is a topical issue whether it is part of your experience or not.”

With Proscia being an alumna of Eastern, Worthington said she thinks the event will particularly interest current students and faculty.

“Here is someone who started at EIU, went out, is doing great things and is going to come back and talk about what those things are,” she said. “I think it really gives students an idea of how big the world is and how it is open to them.”

The artwork for the posters highlighting the keynote and other events this month is one of Worthington’s favorite parts, she said.

“If you look at our posters you realize this is not an easy issue to talk about,” she said. “It’s a painful one, so the idea of spending an entire month talking about this issue from a variety of different angles is exciting, but it is also emotional.”

The artwork, with hashtagged phrases like, “#MeToo,” “#TimesUp” and “#WhyIDidntReport,” overlaying a black and white photo of a wide-eyed young girl with a hand covering her mouth, was designed by students, Worthington said.

The decision for this artwork was a difficult to make, she said, describing the posters as “haunting” but ultimately deciding that it will hopefully get the message across to people.

The Eastern counseling center will be at the event along with HOPE, a domestic violence center, and the Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service (SACIS) to provide more information to anyone needing it.

“These are important issues,” Worthington said. “For a student who has been a victim of some kind, and kind of coping on their own, a talk like this can raise issues for them where they need some place to turn, and they will have the information they will need.”

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].