Survivors ‘Take Back the Night,’ sharing truths of sexualized violence

By Dajonea Robinson
Flapjack Staff

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Ravin Craig, health educator at Humboldt State University, feels that the power of surviving is different for everyone because. Not everyone will feel like a survivor when it comes to sexualized violence. “Survivor” was not a label that Craig used for a long time. It wasn’t until she was much older until she heard that word.

“When I first heard it, I rejected that word completely,” Craig said. “Later the word survivor became to mean a lot to me. I think it’s really powerful to claim that this didn’t beat me, it didn’t stop me from existing it and didn’t stop me from moving on. There’s a lot of power in surviving but it’s not the only way.”

It’s a personal choice to tell one’s truth but if whomever chooses to can it can be incredibly powerful.

Take Back the Night 2017 is a week of events to bring awareness to sexualized violence as it’s meant empower survivors as is dismantles the cycle of abuse among survivors; whether it be female, male, trans or non gender conforming people. Take Back the Night week gives survivors a platform to reclaim self worth as one reclaim control of their life. It allows survivors of sexual assault to feel supported as they stand in solidarity with their allies. Take back the night week is a time where education and deconstruction of internalized culture happens s resistance flourishes.

“The first time I went to Take Back the Night I heard other people talk about things that also happened to me and say them out loud,” Craig said. “It was something that nobody talked about at all, and I couldn’t understand what was happening. I went to Take Back the Night by accident the first time. It is incredibly powerful to be able to have a space where you can say something that you have had your whole life that you couldn’t talk about before. To then have people there to listen and hear you, be compassionate and not judge you based off [your story], for me it was instrumental to my survivorship.”

Craig was not sure why she chose to share her truth at the “Survivor’s Speak Out” of Take Back the Night. 

“ I was so emotional and so heartbroken that I  felt that I was going to explode if I didn’t say something at that point,” Craig said. “The first time I talked at TBTN it was similar and I kind of hoped to help other people who were like me. [I spoke up] so they can know that there is somebody else like them walking around on campus. Now as a staff member who is not a student I really feel that way.”

Craig believes that it is important to have people in faculty and staff positions who are also survivors of sexualized violence. Not saying that people should be survivors but, mainly representation is important.

Craig says she doesn’t know where her courage came from to speak against her injustices during TBTN.

“I don’t know about the word courage because, mostly I’m terrified especially when I’m talking about it,” Craig said. “Maybe it’s courageous to do something even though you’re scared. It’s really hard for me to identify with the word courageous but mostly I try to do what I can. Sometimes things come out wrong and sometimes they come out well. I think for me, my family [is my] point of courage, my community and myself as I get to know myself.”

Craig believes that reclaiming one’s strength can come in many ways. It’s all about education, and doing the work to resist rape culture through changing people’s minds. Craig does this by telling her story out loud as often as she can. She believes that this courageous act can be reclaiming and extremely empowering.

“I think that for survivors it’s okay to have your survivorship be the way that it is,” Craig said. “It doesn’t have to be the way that other people exist. Your story and your experience is your experience and it doesn’t have to be anyone else’s. So don’t let anyone tell you that you have to forgive, and don’t let anybody tell you you have to be angry. You don’t have to be a certain way or at a certain stage. Get help if you need it because there are people who are willing to support you.”

Oceana Madrone, artist for the Arcata Artisans Gallery believes  that it is important to share your story because  when someone keeps a secret they’re isolated and alone. That isolation and that secrecy keeps the alone. when they start to tell their story they realize that they’re not alone. Madrone also has confidence that it is also an important part of the healing process because, it’s the beginning of the healing process.

“I wanted  to offer a ray of hope to other survivors who are at the beginning of their healing journey,” Madrone said. “I could feel the pain and the feeling of being hopeless as though it’s always going to be this way. Because, I’m older I’ve had so many years to work on my healing process and I know that it is possible and it is so worth it. I’ve gone from hating myself to liking myself and everybody should like themselves. (Insert warm chuckle). I’ve gone from feeling unloved and unlovable to being cared for, and that is a feeling that everyone should be able to experience. When you don’t love yourself you don’t really believe that everyone else should love you, even if they do you don’t believe that you should because you don’t love yourself.”

Madrone says that allies must offer support and try not to take over the healing process for somebody else. Allies can offer love and support while they do it for themselves. Madrone resists by telling her story and by going to counseling for many years.

“I found my voice through art by making quilts, gals and beadwork,” Madrone said. “ I found my voice through that and I could share [it] with other people that also can be helped with my healing process.”

Madrone also found her voice  by finding people  who believed her and gave their full support without questioning her.  There’s a lot about victim blaming without actually hearing the victim. Madrone thinks that everyone can end sexualized violence by standing together and  not accepting rape culture as a normal standard. To resist and boycott movies and books that involves sexualized violence. Yet most importantly,

“[We must] hold the people who do [sexualized crimes] accountable, it takes the community to do that. We can’t expect a survivor to do it alone.”

Paula Arrowsmith-Jones, community outreach facilitator and campus advocate for North County Rape Crisis Team, said that the power of surviving can be regaining of some sense of control. This can be done by survivors making their own decisions of how to move forward. It’s also important to have their choices respected because it is their choice.

“Sharing of truth and being believed is important for some people at Take Back The Night,” Arrowsmith-Jones said.” “It can be more private for some people, the thread of it all is being listened to and believed. They do not have to speak out it is their decision. No one asks and no one deserves to be hurt. Survivors are often blamed for their assault. So anyone must not pass any  judgement of any choices the survivor made because, that was the best choice for them at the time. The beauty of working at the Rape Crisis Center is being able to witness the healing of survivors as they manifest their own future because, healing is possible.”

Resources:

North Coast Rape Crisis 24 Hour Hotlines

Del Norte:(707) 465-2851

Humboldt: (707) 445-2881

 

HSU Women’s Resource Center

Office Phone: (707) 826-4216

Email: hsuwomeen@gmail.com

Student Accessibility In and Out of The Classroom – Accommodating students at HSU

By Garrett Goodnight
Flapjack staff

Traveling across the campus of Humboldt State University can often take an entire day’s worth of energy, in order to make it to class on time. Some students will often have to travel from one end of the campus, to the complete opposite end in a matter of 10 minutes.

ICat Garabay, 23, anthropology major suffered a lower body injury while she was hiking in the forest last semester.

Garabay expressed her thoughts towards the services provided on our campus.

“They’re super beneficial when getting around campus, especially when you have one class in the Behavioral and Social Sciences building and your next is in the Siemen’s Hall,” Garabay said. “The services on campus are extremely helpful especially because of the hills and stairs that make campus so difficult to navigate.”

The HSU campus has informally earned the nickname of Hills and Stairs University for the amount of stairs and hills located on the campus. Because of the campus’ terrain, its staff has prepared for any and every type of injury. HSU provided students with a wide variety of services to accommodate any injury or disability needs.

If a student happens to get injured on or off campus during the semester, there are several ways to go about handling the situation. Let’s say a student happens to get injured off campus, they have the opportunity to go to their local practitioner or doctor. After they are diagnosed they can have their paperwork sent to the Student Disability Resource Center, that way they can properly access the student’s needs.

If a student happens to get injured on campus, they have the option to call the University Police Department to receive service, or they can go to the Student health Center to receive medical attention immediately.

The Student Disability Resource Center promotes their services to any student in order to maintain student’s success at Humboldt State University. “We are a resource to the HSU campus community in its goal to facilitate accessibility and promote Universal Design in Learning,” SDRC About Us statement.

The Student Disability Resource Center has several options open that are available not only to students with new injuries, but available to any student with a pre-existing disability or injury. The school offers accessible classroom furniture, alternate media, assistive technologies, deaf and hard of hearing services, disability-related advising, equipment available for checkout, exam accommodations, LD resource specialist, note-taking services, priority-registration and registration assistance, support group, and transportation on campus from class to class.

Student Access Services Director, Kevin O’Brien elaborated on the system and how it operates.

“If a student can’t make it to class, they will get transportation services and we will communicate with the faculty to set up guidelines,” O’Brien said. “There is a nice collaborative process in place so the student isn’t running around, we really make it a point to see how these limitations will cause barriers for their academics.”

This desire to help students with their disabilities allows any student the ability to receive assistance. Suffering any type of injury during the school semester can really intervene with a student’s ability to participate in the classroom, especially if you are involved with a sport.

Sports require a lot of commitment, as students will often travel across the country to participate and represent HSU. One of the more prevalent injuries that are associated with sports is a concussion, which can often be tricky to recover from.

Humboldt State University has a specific concussion program in place that is run by Justus Ortega, from the kinesiology department. The North Coast Concussion Program was set up to help accommodate students and student athletes if they suffer a brain injury.

On top of the Student Health Center and Student Disability Resource Center working together in a collaborative process, the North Coast Concussion Program is connected to them as well.

Their system works as a network, allowing each center access to student’s reports. Their system allows them to stay up-to-date on very important situations, making sure that students have the best chance to succeed in the classroom.

Suffering a concussion during the semester could perhaps require extra accommodations that are specifically connected to the brain and how to heal properly. Some of the side effects might require students to break from class, as learning and focusing on anything of substance could potentially damage the brain, making the concussion worse.

“The accommodations are there to protect and prevent the further injury of a concussion,” said Ortega. “They are there to ensure the students success in the classroom!”

Ortega believes that Humboldt State University does a really great job at making sure student’s health comes first.

Demand increasing for HSU Health Center

By Izzi Beer
Flapjack staff

While healthcare professionals are working hard to ensure that no student is left unprovided for, it is still unreasonable to assume that every student is satisfied with their experiences at HSU’s health care center for students. Melaina Valdes, 19, is a student here at HSU and was able to attest to her less than ideal visits – or lack thereof – at the health center. The lack of night hours available here on campus is subject of a lot of discussion – especially for students living here in the dorms.

“I sprained and messed up my knee pretty badly a few weeks after winter break ended on a Friday night, and was unable to move it,” Valdes said. “The health center was closed so I had to go to urgent care and pay a ton of money for everything.”

Luckily Valdes knew someone with a car to take her to the local urgent care facility.

“It’s kinda scary to think about that,” Valdes said. “Transport to an emergency room like that can cost a lot of money, which I don’t have. Luckily I didn’t need immediate surgery to fix anything, but if I could’ve at least had a consult with someone on campus, I wouldn’t have had someone drive me so far off campus so late at night just for someone to tell me what I already knew and give me pain meds.”

If you are a student at a university or college, you probably have experienced some sort of illness or ailment that isn’t quite pressing enough to make the trip out to the nearest emergency room, but your symptoms are still unpleasant enough that you must seek out some sort of medical attention. As many students who live on campus can attest, sometimes it can be very difficult to adequately care for themselves.

Here at Humboldt, students have a non-urgent health care center on campus that attempts to deal with the massive influx of patients and their varying ailments. In recent news, the topic of hot discussion regarding accessible health care (especially during the current administration) is the Affordable Care Act. Many students at HSU are uninsured.

Brian Mistler PhD, is HSU’s executive director of student health services. He has worked here since fall of 2016, but has over a decade of experience managing medical facilities in higher education settings. Mistler earned his PhD in psychology and remains committed to helping students with their physical and mental health. When prompted about the worries some students have regarding care with little to no coverage, he assured that the Health Center does its very best to accommodate, however being understaffed and underfunded contributes to the long waits and sometimes inconvenient waits some students are accustomed to at the health center.

“University medical and counseling services across the country have seen increased demand from students, and fears of changes to the ACA is only one of the most recent factors that has made it impossible for the current limited staff to keep up with student needs,” Mistler said. “I know being able to get medical and counseling services to help with issues that prevent students from focusing on their academics is critical to student graduation, and we have a knowledgeable and hard-working team in the health center doing the best they can every day to serve students most critical needs.”

When speaking with Mistler, he made apparent several misconceptions about running a public medical center very clear. There are substantial and numerous programs in place at HSU which attempt to make seeking health care – be it physical or mental – more attainable.

“HSU’s current medical, CAPS, and health education staff are all doing the best they can to serve the increasing needs of our students with relatively few staff, understanding resources are difficult for students and staff both to access in the community,” Mistler said.  “Like most public universities, we simply don’t have enough therapists to provide ongoing therapy to all students, and so our therapists are often doing their best to help students with the most serious and urgent concerns.”

Mistler also spoke to the standing affiliation our university has with federally funded facilities like Planned Parenthood, and how vital it is for our community to utilize such resources. “Our partnerships with agencies like Planned Parenthood and the Humboldt Public health department are just one of the ways we work to provide as many no-cost services as we can for students, and they’re critical to supporting student health,” Mistler said. 

HSU student Kathleen Klauber, 19, said with the end of term is drawing close, it can be extremely difficult to access proper psychological care.

“My friend died recently, so I’ve been going through a lot,” Klauber said. “And I wanted help for anxiety and I’ve been pretty depressed and it’s like totally impaired my studies and stuff but the health center didn’t really offer me much help since it’s the end of the year.”

Brain Booth works as a library lifesaver

By Christine Harris
Flapjack staff

Students and faculty at HSU have been on campus for four weeks now. Some of us are already experiencing the stress and overwhelmed feelings that accompany getting back into our school routines. Most likely in the next few weeks our classes will have back to back tests, a presentation, and a huge group project that will be due at the end of the semester and count for most of our grade. Also, don’t forget about your job or multiple jobs, and the internship. Overall these coming weeks probably are not going to have a lot of “you time,” but don’t worry the library is here to save us.

You are thinking, “The library really? How could they possibly save me from not stressing?”

Two words — Brain Booth.

The Library Brain Booth is a new addition to the many resources the library has to offer its students and staff. It is a program that is helping and teaching those who visit how to take mindful brain breaks. Inside the rooms, there are a variety of activities and resources available to those who come.

The Brain Booth offers  six stations for people to participate in; Biofeedback Station, Relaxation and Contemplation Station, Gaming Station, Virtual Reality Station, and a Light Therapy Station and Recommended Reading Section ( For the Virtual Reality station the Brain Booth does ask that you bring your own phone). This program is new to our campus and has been going on since the beginning of September.

The event is sponsored by the HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation and the Office of Research, Economics and Community Development. Marissa Mourer, librarian for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, is one of the people in charge of the study. She explained the idea behind having the Brian Booth at Humboldt.

“I have had students come up to me after class or when I’m at the Help Desk in the library very flustered and overwhelmed, and they tell me they find it difficult to unplug from their day to day tasks,” Mourer said. “So I want to teach students that taking mindful brain breaks can refresh us.”

brain-booth-copyThe web page for the Brain Booth states under the “research study” tab that “observational research is being conducted to identify levels of engagement with activities, technologies, and exhibits for all Library Brain Booth visitors.” Mourer said that since it is all anonymous work she is unable to verbally asks students how they feel after participating. However, she stated that she had a gentleman who self-reported to her after being in the Brain Booth that it was exactly what he needed.

Emily Baker, a 24-year-old kinesiology student, said she enjoyed the Gaming Station.

“I liked the game that is at the Gaming Station because while it was relaxing it helps and improves hand coordination and motor learning,” Baker said.

Ryan Sendejas, 29-year-old environmental studies major, said he came to do one of his favorite activities.

“I came out of curiosity,” he stated. “Also I like to color and I saw that that they had a station that has coloring.”

Will both of them come back to Brain Booth? They both said they definitely would.

“It’s my second time coming to Brain Booth, so I’m pretty sure I’ll keep coming back,” Sendejas said.

Mourer expressed that her favorite section is the Biofeedback Station where she uses the Heart Rate Variability machine to help her concentrate on her breathing and increase heart rate variability from lowest to highest heart rate.

The Brain Booth is available to students and staff in the Library on Wednesdays from ten am to noon in room 114, and on Thursdays from one pm to three pm in room 208. If you are unable to attend the Brain Booth through its available hours, they provide outside resources in the library for students.

“Because the Brain Booth is only available four hours a week I wanted to allow students who are interested, but unable to attend during our hours, the opportunity to still access some of our tools,” Mourer said. “Also they can use these tools if they don’t want to be a part of the study. Overall it is for the pure benefit of the students.”

Some of the outside tools include the Meditation Room, a collection of DVDs and books, and new FitDesks that are located on the second floor of the library.

The Brain Booth will continue through the semester, Mourer said.

“It will be based on interest and the traffic that it gets,” she said. “But our main focus is the support of mindfulness in the academic library for our students.”

A patch of paradise rests in downtown Arcata

By Madison Carlin

Flapjack Chronicle

Walk down the hill, wipe off the sweat, look over and spy a beautiful patch of peace in the subtle hustle and bustle of downtown Arcata. The Community Garden, located on the corner of F and 11 provides food to the patients and staff of the Open Door Clinic but also to any volunteers. The Open Door Clinic, started in 1971 and has been dedicated to providing health care to the community ever since.

The garden is a part of something much larger than the space it occupies. It’s a support network through the North Coast Community Garden Collaborative. The NCCGC has many gardens in Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties. Their mission is “to create, facilitate, and nurture partnerships of community garden groups and their supporters to improve people’s access to healthy, locally-grown, and culturally appropriate foods in the North Coast region.”

Debbie Perticara is one of the overseers of these gardens on the Redwood Community Action Agency properties.

“They provide fresh food and opportunities to learn ecologically-sound gardening practices for homeless clients of RCAA including families and youth,” Perticara said.

The community meets every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If one does decide to stop by, they might just run into Alissa Pattison, the manager for the local garden, who has been working there since December. Pattison is passionate about her work.

“I love gardening, I love working with plants and growing food for people,” Pattison said. “I love doing it and it’s helping the community. And I just love playing in the dirt.”

Volunteers would be put to good use.

“The usual turnout is about two to six people and we always need more help,” Pattison said.

Not only does the garden provide food for the community and a chance to pick up useful skills but  it is also a peaceful place to hangout.

“People come here to enjoy the space because it is a peaceful environment,” Pattison said. ” We want it to be a welcoming environment that anyone can come hangout in as long as they’re not disturbing someone else’s peace.”

Besides gardening, Arcata residents Beau Barton and Calvin Martin enjoy the garden as a regular smoke spot.

“There is a no smoking zone two blocks in any direction from the plaza,” says Martin. “This is just outside of it.”

For people interested in gardening, Pattison is there to help out.

” I love beautifying the space and showing people how to grow their own food.” Pattison said. “It’s really fun, getting people involved with gardening and empowering them to grow their own food if they want to.”