Advocates for Change Can Learn a Lot in New Seminar on Legislative Reform on Violence Against Women

By Taylor McClure

(June 17, 2015) – Carol E. Jordan, executive director of University of Kentucky's Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women, will teach a seminar this fall semester based on her book, "Violence Against Women in Kentucky: A History of U.S. and State Legislative Reform." The seminar takes a hands-on approach to teaching students about legislative reforms accomplished to advance the protection of battered women and rape survivors.

Jordan has been involved in the issues of violence against women, not only as an advocate, but as a researcher and a writer for more than 30 years. "The underpinning for all those years of work is an inherent drive to help women and children," Jordan said. "It is a motivation that I share with my colleagues and together we have peopled a movement for more than three decades."

Jordan says her book, "Violence Against Women in Kentucky," published by University Press of Kentucky, offers examples of the various forms of violence against women through true stories of survivors and family members. The book also details legislative reforms accomplished in Kentucky from 1970 through 2010.

"It is more than just a history, however, it is a living example of how a fervent desire to improve conditions for a large population can turn into policy and then into legislation," she said.

Jordan believes the book will be a great way to engage her students throughout the semester. "I believe the most effective way to learn the material found within the book is through an experiential format." The course will include visits to a local battered women's shelter and guest lectures from people who were actually involved in the legislative reforms.

While the class may sound like one that would more likely attract the interest of female students, Jordan trusts that male students will find the class equally informative. Jordan notes that the field learned years ago that not involving men in the movement is an "egregious error." She plans to teach the course so it can benefit any student who is willing to take part in the work assigned.

Students will also learn how to translate policy into legislative reform in Kentucky by making presentations to actual legislators. Jordan plans to set up a real life mock legislative committee to hear proposals for bills from students. Students will also have the opportunity to showcase what they have learned through media presentations at the end of the course.

"Perhaps the most important lesson (students will learn) is that anything can be achieved with the dedication of human effort," Jordan said. "Changing the law to better protect women and children was certainly challenging to accomplish, but we found a pathway to do it; a path that others can follow in their own quest to advocate for a cause."

The Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women is part of the College of Arts and Sciences. The Violence Against Women seminar course is offered through the Department of Political Science (PS 492), but is open to a variety of majors.

Violence Against Women:  A Political and Legislative History

Seminar Details:       PS 492

                                    Monday, 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

                                    Patterson Office Tower, Room 145

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