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P&S Journal

P&S Journal: Fall 1996, Vol.16, No.3
Alumni Weekend.
Symposium on Violence

Elizabeth Schneider, left, and Susan Xenarios
On April 18, the CPMC Women's Resource Center presented "Our Community as Witness: Reconceptualizing Sexual Harassment and Violence Against Women." The goal of the symposium was to create a forum to discuss the medical and legal ramifications of violence against women. Theresa Marie Doddato, associate professor of clinical nursing and associate dean of student affairs, officiated in place of Dr. Mary Mundinger, dean of the School of Nursing, who was originally scheduled to deliver introductory remarks.

Speakers included attorneys Elizabeth Schneider, Elizabeth Koob, and Patricia Sachs Catapano, associate general counsel at Columbia; and health care professionals Annette Hollander'66 and Susan Xenarios.

Recounting recent legal cases in the field, Ms. Schneider, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, emphasized the dramatic rise in public consciousness concerning the issue of harassment, especially in the wake of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. She urged that "just as it's crucial for there to be courses on and casebooks in domestic violence for law students, I'd like to see the same in every medical, nursing, and health service school curriculum." Attorney Elizabeth Koob, a partner in the public interest law firm of Koob and McGoolihan in New York, focused on the defendant's personal hardship in going to court on cases of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Annette Hollander'66, psychiatrist and chair of the Committee on Women of the New Jersey Psychiatric Association, specializes in the emotional consequences of sexual harassment. A fear of stigmatization as "crazy," she explained, prevents many women from seeking professional help. "Group support for victims is crucial," Dr. Hollander insisted, "which is why symposia like this are so important."

Susan Xenarios, director of the Rape Crisis Intervention/Crime Victim Assessment Project at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center and one of the originators of the alternative shelter program for survivors of domestic violence, underlined the need for the health care profession to address problems of violence against women. Patricia Sachs Catapano, Columbia's associate general counsel, outlined the University's position and procedure for dealing with sexual abuse and/or sexual assault.

The CPMC Women's Resource Center is devoted to excellence in the research and delivery of health care by and for women.

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