“Beat the Blame Game” webinar; Catharsis Productions tackles victim blaming and the stigma surrounding sexual assault

Catharsis Productions’ webinar on victim blaming and sexual abuse.

DMACC Student Activities has planned a number of webinars for students to attend in the absence of in-person events and activities. 

Last week, Catharsis Productions held a seminar through GoToWebinar titled “Beat the Blame Game,” an examination of victim blaming and how people can better support people facing abuse, as well as options for how to confront abusers.

Senior Educators Anne Dufault and Anthony Dinicola are very comfortable tackling topics as sensitive as this in a way that encourages audience engagement. The company slogan, “Fight fire with funny,” is how they try to encourage people to engage with these conversations and break the stigma surrounding the topic of sexual violence.

However, this does not mean they take sexual violence lightly. They gave trigger warnings upfront, described what they would talk about and in how much detail, and  welcomed us to leave if it was too much for us.

Both through the chat box and built-in polls, there were ample opportunities to participate as a viewer. “This is more of a conversation than a webinar,” said Dufault. 

Both Dinicola and Dufault were quick to not only respond and address audience comments, but were also adept at linking them together and using them to enhance the information in their slides.

It was difficult to tell how many people were attending the webinar, as there were no numbers and the chat box only showed the messages of the sender. However, the speedy and thorough interaction between Dufault, Dinicola, and the audience kept the experience from feeling lonely.

For the hour and 15 minute presentation, the examination of victim blaming and sexual violence was very thourough and multifaceted. They addressed how it is a problem that both women and men face, how the internet and “trolls” escalate and perpetuate victim blaming. They included information about the history of victim blaming, like how the term was coined in the 1970s by psychologist William Ryan in regards to African-American poverty; nothing to do with sexual violence.

Unfortunately, the citation of Ryan was the only citation given for their sources. Dufault and Dinicola gave a lot of information that could have been supported stronger with the inclusion of where it came from, either through a verbal citation or one embedded in the slides.

There wasn’t a public Q&A session at the end, but Dufault and Dinicola offered to stay in chat to answer last minute questions privately.

Overall, “Beat the Blame Game” and Catharsis Pictures were successful in holding an engaging webinar on a topic that is not only relevant to college students, but to modern society in general.

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