#metoo experience share

Description

People read true stories of sexual assault, harassment, and gender bias submitted by colleagues. Those wishing to remain anonymous can write their stories, submit anonymously and have a colleague read it.

This event pairs well with taking action such as discussing and practicing what to do, i.e. a Scenarios / Role Plays combination

Goals

  • Raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault and gender bias that colleagues and friends have faced: bring a national issue home to make it more personal and real
  • Share the context and nuance of power dynamics to make these situations more understandable
  • Practice responding to these types of scenarios, receive feedback, test new strategies and ways of confronting others when the stakes are low. Reduce participants fear and uncertainty around what to do in these situations

Theory of Change

  • Many people are unaware how common sexual assault and gender bias is. People will be more supportive if they know those personally impacted by it
  • Both men and women need a safe space to strategize and practice how to engage around these topics
  • If people have rehearsed similar scenarios, they are more likely to act when confronted with these situations in real life

Must work as a partner to the leader(s) of the event, come up with drafts and edits of the role plays, timing of that portion of the evening, and be the lead moderator of the discussions and sharing. Must also be able to push people when they share and challenge what they say for further discussion.

Logistics

Costs and food

  • Speaker fee: very dependent on your club’s budget, but roughly $2-$3k
  • Food: depending on the time of day of your event, you may want to provide dinner/drinks/dessert to participants (very dependent on time and budget). Food is a good way to provide an emotional break after the heaviness of the #metoo sharing.

Target / likely audience

This event is great for folks (all genders) with any level of expertise on identity. Consider opening the event to non-members. The more people who can hear the stories and participate the better.

Location / Participation Size

Participant size is very flexible. #metoo portion: audience listening; size limit is seating capacity. Actions portion: participants in groups of 6-8, but in proximity to larger group to share learnings.

A/V Needs

Both portions need a screen, projector, and amplified sound. #metoo portion: Show the text of the stories that are being read. Speakers use microphone. Action portion: show the text of scenarios, roles, and discussion points.

Other resources needed

  • Contact information for mental health counselors for anyone who may experience PTSD from hearing intense stories of sexual assault and harassment.
  • Email participants afterwards with the notes that were taken. Include info on future events

Roles and responsibilities

  • Program Lead. Marketing, crowdsourcing stories, recruiting and supporting other roles, ensuring event logistics, introducing and setting tone during event. Sends follow-up emails after event.
  • (Co-)Moderators. Partner with Program Lead to draft and edit scenarios and agenda. Lead the discussion, scenarios, and sharing. Push participants to share, compassionately challenge folks, set tone of emotional safety. Best to have a pair of a male and non-male co-moderators.
  • Volunteers to read. People who will read anonymous stories
  • Notetaker. Document the strategies participants create. Later share this document with both participants and community.
  • Finances. Someone to take care of finances, fundraising, payments.
  • Food logistics. Order food, ensure proper tableware (plates, cups, utensils, napkins, etc), ensure food delivery arrives to right location on time.

Agenda / Program

  • Agenda and scenarios
  • For each scenario:
    • 1 minute – read and clarify scenario
    • 2 minutes – write down your thoughts
    • 3 minutes – discuss in small group
    • 4 minutes – practice role play
    • 5 minutes – debrief in large group

Tips and pitfalls

  • Decide what kinds of stories you want shared at the #metoo portion of the evening – do you want stories of workplace assault and harassment or will you include more subtle types of discrimination?
  • Ensure that everyone on leadership is aligned on what kinds of conversations you want the group to have, and that you are aligned on everyone participating (and jumping in as co-moderator) to help make that happen
  • Think actively about the Action portion of the evening and how it makes sense to structure in terms of role plays and group discussion. Do you want scenario discussion done as a large group or within small groups?
  • When speaking with women and asking them to share their stories, be gentle and respectful. Make sure you and your team don’t ask the same women twice to share these difficult stories.

Timeline

Two months prior

  • Begin sourcing moderator. Consider skilled colleagues, external folks, professors, lecturers, etc.
  • Work with finances (group CFO, administration, etc) for a speaker fee and room reservation.
  • Begin room reservation process. You want a room that's comfortable, can seat enough people, and can accommodate small groups within a large room.

One month prior

  • Begin sourcing stories (anonymously or attributed) of your community’s experiences with sexual assault, sexual harassment, and bias. Remember that because of the difficult nature of the topic, a lot of this “marketing” needs to happen in person. Have Partner club leadership talk to their female friend groups to encourage sharing stories.
  • Begin promotions for participant recruitment
  • Create way to receive RSVPs (google form)
  • Create calendar invite for event and add people as they RSVP

2-3 weeks prior

  • Begin reviewing scenarios with your moderator. Agree on order and prioritize the most important three – you'll almost definitely run out of time. If an external moderator, go over terminology or frameworks that your school uses that could be useful in engaging the group

1 day prior

  • Pre-order food and get tableware, plates, cups, napkins, utensils, etc.
  • Print a handful of scenario slide decks in case of A/V malfunction

Event day prep 

  • Ensure room/rooms set up appropriately
  • Check microphones, projector 
  • Receive food and setup the food area

1 day after

  • Thank participants for coming. Send out documented strategies. Send unanswered questions. 

1 week after

  • Send out further responses to unanswered questions, links to topical resources (articles, podcasts, videos, etc)

Communications

Subject: Help end workplace sexual harassment

Join a powerful two-part campus event on [day/date] focused on workplace sexual harassment. Help put an end to workplace sexual harassment.

Many in our community have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the workplace. It's not something we talk about often, so it can seem like it doesn't and hasn't happened to people in our community. Join us for a night of education, action and skill-building.

This [day], [date] at [time] in [location]

  • Part I - Sharing Stories (7:00-7:30pm)
    • What does sexual harassment look like? What has it felt like to our classmates who have been affected?
    • Listen and learn from our classmates who have experienced workplace sexual assault and harassment.
  • Tea, snacks, and space for reflection will be available between Parts I and II.
  • Part II - Action (7:30-9:00pm) Dinner will be provided
    • What's the difference between "sexism in the workplace" and "sexual harassment and assault"? How will you respond to scenarios you may encounter?
    • With the support of a renowned professional facilitator, discuss and role play scenarios covering a wide spectrum of gender interactions, from mansplaining and double standards to groping and objectification.