WRC bolsters services

Jessica Amo was named director of the Women’s Resource Center on Jan. 1, and in the past couple of weeks alone she’s already filled her plate with a plethora of projects.

Jessica Amo, new director of the Women’s Resource Center, responds to a crisis call about a student who may have been raped.

Jessica Amo was named director of the Women’s Resource Center on Jan. 1, and in the past couple of weeks alone she’s already filled her plate with a plethora of projects.

In addition to WRC-hosted events, students can expect more services to be made available to victims of sexual assault, as well as changes to new student orientation.

“The Campus Public Safety Office has been working to create a new position; it will be a detective position,” Amo said. “And that person is 100 percent dedicated to responding to students that want to report about sexual assault.”

Former Portland Police Bureau detective Matt Horton is CPSO’s new sexual assault officer.

Amo spent the last four years as the WRC’s assistant coordinator. She has 15 years of experience focusing on domestic and sexual violence issues.

When Amo worked at the Portland Women’s Crisis Line, she was part of their restraining order program. She was also an advocate at the Portland Police Bureau.

As a graduate student, Amo applied for her first position at WRC as part of her practicum. She’s been part of changes within the WRC since the beginning of her residency.

“When I first came [to the WRC], the Interpersonal Violence Program was essentially [led by] a part-time graduate assistant,” Amo said. “Over the four years that I was here, we were able to grow that position into a full-time interpersonal violence advocate.”

The WRC is also working toward becoming a part of the mandatory new student orientation. They are developing a training module required for new students.

“Lots of folks don’t know about us until they need us,” Amo said. “We would like to shift that to ensure that all students know about us when they get here, before anything happens.”

Dr. Rebecca J. Hannagan, a visiting associate professor of political science, will be a guest speaker at a WRC event on Jan. 23. As part of a lecture series, Hannagan will talk about varying degrees of exploitation, hence the title, “Bodily Exploitation: An examination of rape in the U.S. military.”

“As citizens of the United States, we invest in the military,” Hannagan said. “There is systematic violence against a certain group of people within that organization—I think it’s an issue that does, in fact, affect everyone.”

Hannagan is on sabbatical from Northern Illinois University, where she is involved with women’s studies, family violence and sexual assault in addition to political science.

“I have been interested in—just generally speaking—the issue of violence against women,” Hannagan said. “That tends to be something I care a lot about.”

When she first arrived at PSU, Hannagan wanted to be part of the campus community, and thus discovered the WRC.

“It’s a great environment, where you can go and relax and study and even talk to other like-minded students,” Hannagan said. “They have a lot of excellent programs, and great discussions happen over there, but it’s also a very chill environment.”

Cristal Vann, a PSU senior, has volunteered at WRC for the past year. She transferred from Portland Community College, and compared their WRC to Portland State’s WRC.

“At PCC, it’s very small and not inviting. There is no community,” Vann said. “But here, there’s a large, open space, and you can meet other women.”