Breaking The Silence At The Bertha Harris Women’s Center

2N-106 Is Dedicated To Your Safety And Personal Growth

By: Olivia Frasca

The Women’s Center at CSI is a safe space for all genders to study, relax, and get involved. Credit: Olivia Frasca

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and students at CSI are encouraged to share their story and break their silence.

The Bertha Harris Women’s Center at CSI hosts a clothesline project at the entrance of 1P. Students are invited to anonymously paint a shirt and hang it on the clothesline from October 3rd through October 31st

The project is an outlet for survivors of domestic and gender-based abuse to take control of their experiences and express their feelings. 

But the clothesline is not the only project that the center promotes. On October 15th, the center held their annual ‘Take Back The Night’ event. 

The candlelight walk took place at the Dolphin Lounge. Over 100 people took part in the event to break the stigma and stand in solidarity with victims of gender-based violence. 

The Women’s Center is “dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of women students, to addressing gender-related issues both on and off-campus, and to empowering women in order to strengthen the entire community,” according to their mission statement. 

Enter 2N, turn left, and walk to the end of the hallway to room 106. You will find a welcoming space with twinkling lights, chairs, treats, and a group of students and staff eager to meet you. 

Office Manager Lori Uccio describes the Women’s Center as a home away from home that offers resources and opportunities for students of all genders. 

“[The Women’s Center] encourages a confidential support network among students, staff, and faculty, while also serving as a conduit of information about counseling and other resources available to women on campus and in the surrounding communities.”  

The center runs a 4-credit internship class, WGS 490, where students can intern at the center and study feminist theory.  

The center also has relationships with other gender-based organizations, such as Safe Horizon, the largest victim services non-profit in the country. 

Based in New York City, Safe Horizon “envisions a society free of violence and abuse. [Safe Horizon] will lead the way by empowering victims and survivors to find safety, support, connection, and hope.”

Although domestic violence can come in different forms, abuse often follows a cycle. First, tensions build up between the abuser and the victim. The victim tries to satisfy the abuser in fear of the consequences. 

Second is the abuse, which can be verbal, emotional, or physical. This can last for short or long periods of time.

The third stage is reconciliation, where the abuser apologizes, blames the victim, or even denies abuse.

The fourth stage is called the “honeymoon” stage, in which abuse does not occur and the relationship is generally peaceful. The victim is likely to stay with the abuser but the cycle does not end. 

The center provides counseling, support, and scholarships for both survivors and victims of the cycle. 

In addition to interning at the center and learning about feminist theory, those enrolled in WGS 490 can create their own events about issues that matter to them. 

Throughout the year, the Women’s Center collects accessories, feminine products, and gifts for organizations such as Bottomless Closet and Safe Horizon. 

It also hosts discussions and panels about equal rights, salary negotiation, and sexual health. Students can earn CLUE credits for participating at some of these events.

Toys for children and gifts for mothers in the care of Safe Horizon will be collected throughout campus from November 4th to December 10th. Uccio shares that the center will have a gift wrapping party on December 10th for donations gathered throughout the holiday season, and encourages students to attend.

The Bertha Harris Women’s Center at CSI is open Monday-Thursday at 2N-106. Feel free to call them at (718) 982-2871 for more information about upcoming events and activities. 

Whether you need support, a place to chill, or a cup of coffee, visit the center. There, you will join a community of interns, staff, and organizations dedicated to your safety and personal growth. 

If you or someone you know needs help, visit the Women’s Center or contact the 24-hour Safe Horizon hotline at (800)-621-4673. You are not alone.


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