My name is Savannah Slater. I hail from the growing city of Nampa, Idaho, but my “home” is now a combination of Moscow and Boise, Idaho. I would also consider a little town in Finland, named Ähtäri, to be my home. After spending one very cold year there in high school, and returning just this summer, I find that little Finnish town closer to my heart than most places in the United States. Because I was able to do a fair amount of traveling around Europe (and a small amount in Thailand) during my year abroad, I invested my college career in an International Studies major. I chose to come to the University of Idaho by default (in-state tuition is really the deciding factor for any student/parent budgeting for higher education). Now, with a mere three semesters left before receiving my bachelors, I am accepting the fact that I may do absolutely nothing with this degree. Instead, I have every intention of continuing my education in pursuit of a law degree (a sentence I never thought I would write). This change of interest in my future really sprouted from a conversation I had with one of my closest friends. Struggling with her past, my friend finally divulged to me, in great detail, two counts of rape she endured in high school, and her justified disappointment in the United States’ legal system. And, if you have ever had an epiphany, you will understand me when I say: her terrible experience helped me realize my future.
My father has been a police officer for a little over twenty years, while my mother created the position of Victim Witness Coordinator (a position dedicated to guiding victims through the process of taking legal action against their offender) for the city of Nampa, Idaho. What this means to me, especially now as I move in a different direction with my life, is that I have a beautiful foundation to make a difference in the way we handle rape. My father, unfortunately, participates in the same mindset of countless other’s- including police officers, lawyers and attorneys, judges, and many citizens- that rape is circumstantial. Meanwhile, my mother is a pioneer for passing legislation that protects victims of any sort, and will be the first to testify just how un-circumstantial rape is. Like my friend, my mother continues to warn me about the lack of protection for rape victims, and the mindset of the many people who form the judicial system, in hopes that I am fully aware and prepared for the difficulties I will face following this career path. Which brings me to my newfound admiration for feminism. As I continue to learn about feminism and apply it to my own life, I hope to bring you, the reader, along with me. Together, we can determine feminism’s place in our global community.
Feminism is a great platform to analyze current events, both in the United States, and in the international community. I truly hope to use the news (CNN, New York Times, Reuters, and BBC News are a few of my favorites) and my own life experiences to show the importance and applicability of feminism. I began learning about feminism in a Western Literature class here at the University of Idaho. I could not have asked for a better professor, than the one and only Thomas Drake, to teach me about the pioneers of feminism, and why it has become so important to sociology, anthropology, political science, and so many other disciplines. My professor taught me about Virginia Woolf, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mary Shelley, the forerunners of Feminism. As I continue to learn about feminism, and about myself, I often refer back to this quote from Virginia Woolf: “As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”
On my journey of self-discovery, I hope not to depress you, but to open up the floor for discussions on subjects “they” don’t want to talk about. Let’s talk about rape, about famine, about discrimination, about sex, about death, about violence, about all of the important issues that people try to keep out of everyday conversation. Only when we start talking about the things that keep us up at night can we open the door for peaceful and thoughtful solutions. And that is precisely what I would like to do here, as I spend the semester blogging for the Women’s Center, I aspire to create a comfortable space filled with honest and considerate discussions.