Blog Author:
McCall Hollie, Duke Univ Women's Center Intern, Class of 2016

We had just wrapped up at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, drained from taking in all the incredible history exhibited in the museum’s three buildings. The consensus was to take the tram to a spot for lunch, then hop on it again to find a baklava shop we’d heard is amazing. The tram is one of several fantastic methods of public transportation used by what feels like everyone (at the same time) in the city of Istanbul. A seat on the bus, metro, or tram is a highly coveted spot that is not easily attained. In fact, sometimes just getting on any of these vehicles is a nearly impossible feat because they are so crowded. “Maximum Capacity” doesn’t seem to be a concept as firmly held here as it is in the U.S.

Blog Author:
Sean Novak and India Pierce


Collaboration & Change for a Common Good
A Reflection on Collaboration in Campus Life
India Pierce and Sean Novak


One way that we can work effectively to create change for a common good is to work collaboratively across communities. With this in mind, India Pierce from the Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (CSGD) came together with Sean Novak from the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) to create a program that explored the intersections of race and sexual orientation. As part of the CMA’s En/Countering Racism series (E/C), they created a program for students to gather and explore intersectionality. This was done in order to deepen participants’ understanding of themselves and others as a means to building stronger coalitions for social justice.

Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

I recently read the book by Daniel Bergner, “What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire.” After my initial eye rolling “who but a guy can talk about female sexuality?” thoughts, I opened my mind and read.  Then I heard him in an interview say the following beautiful words.  I was so moved that I pulled over to the side of the road in order to fully attend to what he was saying.

“I sometimes think we have to be a little braver about just caring more. Caring, and being open about caring about sex, with one’s partner sounds like it should be easy, but I think often it’s not because you can fail and you can feel hurt. And so I think that candor and caring are important and might well be the root to maintaining passion.”


For this blog post, some of the interns at the Women’s Center decided to share our personal history with feminism. We have all had different experiences and there isn’t a singular theme among our stories, but we hope that our experiences encourage others in the Duke community to explore what feminism means to them.


From Colleen O’Connor (Community Building and Organizing Intern): `


Blog Author:
Women's Center Student Staff
(Written by Women's Center Student Staff) The Women's Center has always had a welcome back party, but there was something special about the one this year. It was the first time that the student staff (all of the interns and PACT trainers) came together and independently planned the party, it was the Women's Center's first big event of the year, but really we think it was the number of students, faculty, and other Duke community members that came to the party that made it so special. In years past, there have always been individuals who were strongly associated with the Center who came to the party. This year we had a record number of first-year students and other new faces come and share. It really showed us how the Women's Center has grown, and the party set a great tone for year to come. We planned for this event at the Women's Center retreat!

Representatives from Women's Centers across the Triangle/Triad gathered at Duke's Women's Center for a day of networking, interaction, and community-building.  UNC-CH, Wake Forest, NC State, NCCU, and Duke centers shared experiences and exchanged ideas about best practices, engaging students, and feminist work.  Highlights included:

Promoting Feminist Leadership on Campus and Beyond

Working with Students: Mentoring and Advising

Successful Models of Collaboration on Campus and in the Community

Gender Violence Prevention and Bystander Models

Social Media Tools and Strategies


Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

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Once parents find out that I specialize in treating the effects of sexual assault, if they have girls, they often ask me what they should say to their daughter to keep her safe.


First, I will say actually you should be talking to the men and boys in your life about the daily realities of violence toward women because we will never make any progress until 50% of the population stops absorbing this problem as a way of protecting the feelings of the men in their lives.


Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick


As I celebrate my youngest child’s 18th birthday, I find myself thinking about all those mothers who will be sending their children to our campus in a matter of 4 months.  I offer thoughts that I shared with my daughter on April 5.


Well, Flannery….rumor has it that you, my baby, are 18 years old.  Like a branding, the memory of the first time I saw you is burned in my brain.  I laid down for a nap and poof, you are 18.

And I simply could not be more proud.


This year, I have struggled and struggled to figure out what to give to you.  And finally I decided the only thing or worth I can give you is this mirror of sorts.  I am going to share my experience of you.



“Sheila, we are just souls in bodies learnin’ stuff,” he said to me.  And with that one utterance, I was able to let go of the guilt du jour for mistakes made that I had been carrying around.  It is simply not true that therapy only happens in a therapist’s office.  I find mine more often than not sitting across the table from someone I love at Daisycakes or Cocoa Cinnamon or Fullsteam. 

As we begin the last 5 weeks of Spring 2013 semester at Duke I find myself reflective of the souls in bodies who are learning stuff.  It’s that time of the year you can feel the fear from the seniors.  It’s in their dreams of showing up to graduation in their pajamas, it’s in their memorized phrases they tell people my age when I ask, “so, what’s next?”  This year, their fear bounces from them and jumps right into my own soul, also full of it’s own fear.


“You can’t hate someone whose story you know,” wrote a Duke sophomore woman writing of her experience with being exposed to recent immigrants during an Alternative Fall Break experience she had last semester.  What she meant was that what she learned about these families who originated in countries other than the USA was that once you know their stories, you connect and you can longer live in the comfort of ignorance.