Nov. 5, 2019 - In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month, Collin College’s The Dignity Initiative will offer a presentation and two film screenings with panel discussions in November. The events are free and open to the public. This year, The Dignity Initiative’s theme is “Global Impact of Oppression.”

“Girl Rising: Educate Girls, Change the World Film Screening and Panel Discussion (Part Two)” will be presented from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14 at the McKinney Campus (Central Park) Conference Center, 2400 Community Ave. in McKinney. Girl Rising is a global campaign to educate and empower girls. The organization uses storytelling through film, television, and social media to support its mission to foster education and affect the pressures that girls in many cultures face such as early marriage, domestic slavery, violence, and sex trafficking. Girl Rising, the film, tells the story of nine girls from around the world whose lives were changed through the power of education.  Directed by Academy Award nominee Richard E. Robbins, the film was written by acclaimed female writers and includes the voices of actresses such as Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, and Anne Hathaway. The film has been translated into over 30 languages and adapted in Hindi, Hausa, Lingala, Swahili, Congolese French, and Tshiluba.

“Neurobiology, Trauma, and Sexual Violence: Reclaiming the Body and Voice” will be presented from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Living Legends Conference Center at the college’s Plano Campus (Spring Creek), 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano. This event will feature guest speaker Melanie Sherman, licensed clinical social worker, licensed child placing administrator, and Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners-Board approved clinical supervisor. Employed as a psychotherapist at the University of Texas at Dallas, she is also a Certified Theraplay® Practitioner and Trainer-in-Training for the Theraplay Institute and the founder and owner of a private practice in North Dallas where she specializes in working with children, teens, adults, and families who have experienced complex trauma. Sherman has worked in the field of child welfare and women’s issues since 1999, and she has been featured in the Washington Post, Reuters, Dallas Child, Dan Rather’s Unwanted in America, and was a contributing columnist for Adoption Today. Her passion includes education and training others, both nationally and internationally, to help lift up the voices of marginalized and oppressed groups, particularly women of color. Sherman’s presentation will focus on the effects of violence and trauma, specifically violence against women. She will discuss her work with victims of sexual and domestic violence and the efforts to assist these women in overcoming violence.

“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness Film Screening and Panel Discussion” will be presented from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at the Frisco Campus (Preston Ridge) Conference Center, 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco. A Girl in the River tells the story of Saba Qaisar, a courageous young woman who survived an attempted honor killing by her father and uncle. In the wake of the publicity surrounding the film, the Pakistani Prime Minister vowed to close a legal loophole that allowed perpetrators who attempted murder to avoid jail if they secured forgiveness from the victims or their families. This film was the second Oscar for Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and won the award for best short documentary.

The Dignity Initiative works to raise awareness and inspire action on issues of violence against and oppression of women. For more information about The Dignity Initiative and upcoming events, visit www.collin.edu/community/dignity/.

Collin College serves more than 59,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degrees and certificates. The only public college based in Collin County, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and workforce development. In addition, the college operates the Collin Higher Education Center, which has an enrollment of 3,500 each year in partnership with The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Woman’s University, Texas A&M Commerce, Texas Tech and the University of North Texas. For more information, visit www.collin.edu.