Monique DiCarlo honored today

BY JOSIE JONES | APRIL 07, 2010 7:30 AM

Mohammed Alhadab/The Daily Iowan
UI sexual-misconduct-response coordinator Monique DiCarlo stands in her office in Van Allen Hall on Tuesday. “By the end of the year, the UI will have 50 to 80 cases of sexual assault on campus,” she said.
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Monique DiCarlo has an emotionally demanding job. Her position as the UI’s sexual-misconduct-response coordinator requires her to support those who wish to share stories of sexual misconduct, dating violence, or stalking.

But she hopes to be more than just an aid — she feels creating a community response to interpersonal violence is most important.

“I’m not going to say it’s easy,” DiCarlo said. “It’s challenging, and there are really hard days. It could be easy to get jaded, but I think the key is to focus on the bigger change.”

She will be honored for her work at 3:30 p.m. today at the annual tribute “A Celebration of Excellence and Achievement among Women.” The free ceremony will be held in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber.

DiCarlo will be presented with the Jean Y. Jew Women’s Rights Award — an award honoring a member of the university community who has demonstrated outstanding effort or achievement in improving the status of women on campus.

“Being honored with the award is really a call to action,” she said. “It’s a reminder that I’m not done. It’s a reminder that I am on a path to continue to work with our campus community to make our campus a safe and respectful place for people to learn and work. I think it will be a source of renewal.”

Tom Rocklin, the interim vice president for Student Services, has worked with DiCarlo for approximately four or five years. He thinks DiCarlo’s ambition mixed with a deep knowledge of sexual misconduct makes her deserving of the Jean Y. Jew Award, he said.

“She has principles and dedication,” Rocklin said. “And she knows how to act on her principles.”
DiCarlo’s interest in women’s studies began as an undergraduate when she realized the connection between the reality of women and children in a global sense.

During her undergraduate practicum, she worked with a family agency in a domestic-violence program. A life-changing experience, she worked with children who had witnessed domestic violence and those affected by it, as well as with the offenders.

“I was inspired by working with offenders,” she said. “When people are honestly looking at their behavior and attitude and beliefs and trying to make a change, it felt very inspiring to be a part of that journey.”

While she is affected by individual stories, she feels a coordinated community response is an essential element in supporting reports of sexual misconduct. Part of that response is to ensure the community keeps victims safe, that there are procedures and policies to hold violators accountable to make changes in their lives, and that the larger community is safe.

“I think it’s pretty hard for anyone to not know somebody who was affected by sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence,” DiCarlo said. “Individual stories are very compelling — it brings home the importance of our community response to the issue.”

Even though she said she is motivated by the brave individuals who come forward and ask for help, she is also engaged with her job through the systemic changes that are available to prevent sexual misconduct.

And because she believes there is no correct way to ask for help or share an experience, DiCarlo appreciates those who do.

“I believe it’s a gift if people are willing to share [their story] and be vulnerable,” she said. “I see that as something that is very private. They’re taking a risk, and I really respect people who are doing that.”

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