Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Two students embrace at the Women in Solidarity event on Thursday.

November 10, 2016

Women’s Groups Fear Trump Victory Will Validate Abuse, Backwards Progress

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In the wake of the 2016 election, Cornell’s women’s advocacy groups are afraid that women in America will face more blatant sexism and a cancellation of their rights under Trump, many joining together to address the fear and sadness present on campus.

Vice President of Programming for Consent Ed Jenna Zitomer ’18 said she is concerned that Trump’s presidency “will have a negative impact on the discussion around consent on this campus.”

“I fear that students will become afraid to call out their peers on offensive language and inappropriate behavior, and that such rhetoric will be tolerated on the college campus,” Zitomer said. “The second this behavior becomes conventional and even fashionable is the second I begin to fear for a larger and much more frightening resurgence of sexual assault on and off the college campus.”

The Executive Board of the Society for Women in Politics said in a statement that members are afraid of the impact that Trump’s policies will have on marginalized groups.

“We are afraid that a Republican Supreme Court will disenfranchise many minority groups, repudiate reproductive rights, and cut back affirmative action, among other actions,” the Executive Board said in a statement. “Perhaps more frightening is Trump’s general attitude of superiority and disregard towards women and marginalized groups.”

The SWIP Executive Board anticipates rapid and harmful political and social change as a result of the election.

“We fear the loss of the progressive environmental strides that the country has made,”members said. “We fear for hardworking, decent immigrants who now consistently must worry about being deported, we fear for minorities and women who will be targeted much more frequently, and we fear for the economy.”

To address these fears, the Women’s Resource Center co-sponsored the event, Women in Solidarity, with Jennifer Mandelblatt ’17, who organized the event. Women in Solidarity invited people to “come together to preserve, reinforce, and strengthen our caring community,” according to the event’s Facebook page.

“Right now, there’s definitely a lot of confusion and pain in the results of the election, but this is where we are as a country,” Mandelblatt said. “When you’re ready to keep working to protect each other and fight for each other, just know we are here to advocate for equality, we are here to work for equality, and we are here to achieve equality. That’s why we’re doing this.”

Kim Herbert ’18, speaking at Women in Solidarity, reminded the group that progress is still possible.

“We were so close to making so much progress, and I think a lot of people were really expecting to keep moving forward,” she said. “Right now it feels like we’re taking a step forward and ten steps backwards, but something that’s helped me to think about is that women haven’t gone extinct. We’re still here and we’re only going to keep getting stronger. ”

Zitomer said that she believes this election “taught us that we cannot allow hatred to win.”

“Today more than ever, I have seen and heard about students and young Americans around the country making plans to mobilize and stand together as one cohesive unit,” she said. “Every generation has their fight, and this damn well is ours. No, we cannot change the outcome of this election over night. But we can, and we will, make our voices heard, because let me tell you … our voices are loud.”