University of Pittsburgh | BradfordHeinz Programming Area:
Tamia Robinson, a double major in psychology and criminal justice, studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark for 6 weeks before entering her third year at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. During her time abroad, Tamia had the opportunity to take two classes; Psychology of Criminal Behavior, and Prostitution and the Sex Trade. She learned a lot about the prison system in Denmark in addition to some of the surrounding countries. She learned that Denmark’s prison system is based on rehabilitation rather than punishment unlike the prison system here in America. While taking her first class, she had the opportunity to talk to some people who served time in prison for drug additions, thefts, and even a few people who were sentenced for murder. Listening to people tell their story gave Tamia a more humanized view of criminals, which will allow her to empathize with them as she pursues her future career as a prison psychologist.
During the second half of her program, she took Prostitution and the Sex Trade, which included a study tour to Amsterdam, Netherlands. During her time in Amsterdam, Tamia had the opportunity to talk to several women who stood in the windows of the notorious Red-Light District. This experience gave Tamia a new perspective of women who decide to make a living by selling sex. Most of the women who willingly go into the sex industry find it very liberating, which made Tamia realize that the problem associated with prostitution as well as various other problems in society stems from the opinions of people who have little to no knowledge of the subject. During her time, abroad Tamia also took the time to talk to several natives from Copenhagen and she learned to live in the moment; materialistic items do not have as much value as she believed they did before she left the country.
CEE Title: Through a Broken Lens: Exploring Stereotypes
Our Community Engagement Experience explored different stereotypes and stigmas around the world and compared them to the stereotypes held in America. We also talked about how the way society views something affects the way it is treated by the government and lawmakers. One area of focus was the effect of statues and money, which is something that the average person does not think about. Another focus of our CEE was trophy hunting and the Ivory trade. Both of which seem like bad things here in America, but in actually they are used to conserve the environment. Sex workers and the criminal population were also discussed during our presentation. In America, sex work is considered something women are forced to do because of drugs and alcohol. As a result, prostitution is illegal here in our country. In other countries, sex work is considered a legitimate profession and as a result, sex work is legal in other countries. Criminals in America are viewed as people who need to be punished and that is why America locks them up and throws away the key. Other countries view criminals as people who are victims of unfortunate circumstance, as a result the prison systems in some other countries are rehabilitation based. Countries with rehabilitation based prison systems have an extremely lower recidivism rate than us her in America. Our CEE opened the eyes of the community to new ways of thinking and provided ways to eliminate stereotypes in our own community.