Cast 405: Gender, Violence and Society

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CAST 405: Gender, Violence and Society

Tamara Berg, Director, Women’s and Gender Studies, Winona State University

Lori Woodward, Director, Women’s Resource Center of Winona

Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

  • Each year, an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to violence by family members against their mothers or female caretakers. (Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence in the Family, 2008)

  • In the United States, approximately 324,000 pregnant women are physically abused by their intimate partner every year (RAINN, 2004)

  • In the majority of homes where there is domestic violence and children are present, there is child abuse or maltreatment.

  • In order to end child abuse, we must also end violence against women. These goals go hand in hand.

Video: Battered Hearts: A Story of Family Violence. Commissioned by S.A.F.E. Place, Battle Creek, MI.

Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocacy Training and CAST

  • Adds an option for CAST students to undertake an in-depth look at the effects of sexual and domestic violence on families and children.

  • Embeds advocacy training in the CAST curriculum — students who complete the class are certified domestic and sexual violence advocates in Minnesota.

  • Experience as a crisis advocate enables students to see the scope of the problem of domestic violence and its effects on children.

  • Experience as a crisis advocate fosters the skills students need to help children and families in effective and meaningful ways.

CAST405: Gender, Violence and Society

General Course Information
  • This course introduces students to the roots of gender-based violence, the political and cultural structures that perpetuate it, and explores how this violence might be brought to an end. Students will investigate the local and global impact of violence; how gendered violence intersects with race, class, sexuality, age, physical ability and the oppressions that are linked to these identities; and strategies for addressing gender-based violence.

  • Students will develop an understanding of major family and sexual violence theories and well as the history of legal, political and social responses to gender-based violence.

  • As part of the class, students will complete a 45-hour advocacy training offered in partnership with the Women’s Resource Center of Winona.

Course Texts/Resources

  • Gender Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, edited by L.L. O’Toole, J.R. Schiffman, and M.L. Kiter Edwards. New York University; 2007. 

  • Listening to Battered Women: A Survivor-Centered Approach to Advocacy, Mental Health, and Justice, by Lisa A. Goodman, Deborah Epstein, and Judith L. Herman. American Psychological Association, 2008.

  • Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About It, National Institute of Justice. Dec 2005. Online. Available at

  • Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 207846. June, 2005. Online. Available at

  •  In Her Shoes: Living with Domestic Violence, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 2002.


  • Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity

  • Battered Hearts: A Story of Family Violence. Commissioned by S.A.F.E. Place, Battle Creek, MI.

  • Secret Wounds: Working With Child Observers of Family Violence, Banerjee Associates.

  • The “Undetected” Rapist, National Judicial Education Program (a re-enactment of part of an interview conducted with a college student / rapist by Dr. David Lisak, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Men's Sexual Trauma Research Center at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.)

  • To a Safer Place, Frontline Reports (When Shirley Turcotte was a child, she was sexually abused by her father. After years of therapy she takes a remarkable journey back into her past-confronting her mother and other adults who failed to protect her, reuniting with her brothers and sister who were also brutally abused, and trying to make peace with the horror story that was her childhood.)

  • If I Could, David S. Ward film (documentary film that shows one family's attempt to escape the long-term effects of trauma after decades of abuse, abandonment, drugs and rage).

  • Prostitution In America: The Working Girls Speak, In a rare and intimate look at the oldest profession in the world, Diane Sawyer goes inside both the legal and the underground businesses of prostitution in America.

Student Voices

“I can’t believe how many domestic violence calls involve children – both directly as witnesses to violence or as victims of violence, but also as critical factors in the overall spectrum of considerations that need to be taken into account when a woman makes a crisis call.”

– Amber, CAST student

CAST405: A University/Community Partnership

  • Partnership between WSU and WRC

    • WSU/CAST connections
    • Women’s Resource Center of Winona
  • Partnership goals/benefits

    • WSU: WRC provides leadership and infrastructure for student crisis advocacy experience; career development; engaged learning opportunities
    • WRC: presence on WSU campus; trained advocates; employment pool when hiring; peer advocates help train and educate throughout the community

Advocacy Training

  • Overview

  • Topics

    • Section 1: Introduction to the Women’s Resource Center of Winona
    • Section 2: Introduction to Sexual/Domestic Violence Issues
    • Section 3: Populations Affected by Domestic Violence
    • Section 4: Sexual Assault
    • Section 5: Mandated Reporter Training
    • Section 6: Victims’ Rights
    • Section 7: Important Contacts, Forms and Policies
    • Section 8: Phone Procedures
    • Section 9: Self-care for Advocates


  • Certified advocates/Independent study opportunities

  • Peer-based advocacy/education program development

    • Got Consent? Campaign
    • Resource Card
    • PAVE (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment) chapter to open at WSU in fall 09
    • (

Things to Think About

  • Do you have a class at your university that includes advocacy training?

  • Do you have a campus or community organization that conducts advocacy training?

  • What resources can you identify that would support advocacy training as part of your CAST curriculum?

  • What obstacles do you face?


Child Abuse:

Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Coalitions: (MN Coalition for Battered Women) (MN Coalition Against Sexual Assault) (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

Q & A


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