I recently read an article from a Kalamazoo newspaper published in the 1970s aimed toward women about how to prevent being raped. While some people may think we have progressed in feminist efforts to abolish rape culture, the article could have been in a magazine or newspaper published today. It ran along some of the same messages of “don’t go out late at night” “dress this way” “avoid drinking too much (or at all)”. These not so subtle messages that put blame on women were very blatant.
I wasn’t exactly surprised at the article, but more so by how I have come across similar comments from people in everyday conversation. It shows how this way of thinking has been passed down through the years.
In Gender and Women’s Studies, we learn how to look at the world differently. This is exactly what this internship has made me do. I wanted to intern somewhere that would really make a difference in the community and I believe that I achieved this at Gryphon Place. We all hear about poverty, homelessness, and other community tragedies. Sometimes, we think that these issues are not close to home or don’t affect us. This is entirely untrue. Because I have only lived near WMU’s campus, I have not really experienced the poverty and hardships of Kalamazoo. This internship has made me realize how important volunteering and helping out the community really is. I did not realize how privileged I was to have food, a warm home, and the opportunity to attend college. Some of the callers that we get are homeless, mentally/physically/emotionally disabled, victims of domestic abuse, etc. Most of the time, the callers who are victims of abuse are women in the community. It is so important for women to be able to have somewhere to call and talk about their issues and to be able to get the resources to get them out of their current situation. It really is an amazing feeling when someone thanks you and tells you that you have changed their life.
Before this internship, I did not even know about 211 or Lifeline (suicide hotline). Now, I am constantly spreading the word for people to call us if they need any resources or just a listening ear. Gryphon Place does unbelievable things for people in the community and I believe that people need to know about them! I am really glad I interned at Gryphon Place and would recommend it for any GWS major/minor looking for an internship. I have finished my hours for the internship, but I am going to continue to volunteer at Gryphon Place and help out our community!