City College event encourages women to speak up

Experienced panelists brought up the silenced voices of sexually assaulted women


Uyen Pham

Five experienced panelists discuss the meaning of #BelieveWomen By Uyen Pham/City College

Uyen Pham, Staff Writer

San Diego City College hosted #BelieveWomen, an event part of the fifth-annual Social Justice and Education Conference. The one-day event was hosted by honors students on Wednesday in MS-162. 

The panelists included Aeiramique Blake, a social-justice activist who has been featured in Teen Vogue magazine for activism leadership, Erica Dummer, an SDCCD police officer proud to protect San Diego City College, William Abshier, a counseling intern at City College’s Student Health Center, Manuel Vargas, a philosophy professor at UC San Diego who values moral psychology and sociality and Tasha Williamson, an “agitator” who’s running for San Diego’s mayor.

“For me, believing in women is understanding that whatever women or any people who have been victimized or assaulted comes forward with their story, that they have already crossed some barriers to get to the point,” said Absier when asked the meaning of #BelieveWomen. “Sharing is not easy.” 

Williamson, who has experienced sexual harassment herself, emphasized the meaning of the hashtag. 

“I stand with #BelieveWomen because I believe we are so impacted with violence across this nation by sexual assault (and) sexual harassment,” Williamson said.  “We are the ones to be left with silence over and over again.” 

The panelists explained how counseling and therapy would be great resources to help and support women overcome the traumas. 

“City College has its own advocate to sit with you and guide you through the process because the police interview can be very traumatized,” Dummer said. 

The event hoped to unfold the vulnerability of sexually assaulted women who were not acknowledged and couldn’t voice out the struggles of their suffering.