One in three women and one in four men will experience an abusive relationship in their lives, according to Campus Wellness Coordinator Kathleen Converse.
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Campus wellness invited students to a Workshop and protest march Oct. 14 to address these statistics and discuss warning signs and safety options for abusive relationships.
The workshop began with a documentary offered by the Yardly family that told the true story of their daughter, who was murdered after being trapped in an abusive relationship. Following the documentary, Campus Wellness led a discussion about healthy relationships and a protest march through campus.
After the march, participants left red flags characterizing the seven biggest warning signs for abusive relationships in the quad, where they will remain for the rest of the week.
While sexual assault has been a hot topic on college campuses, Converse said domestic abuse tends to miss the spotlight.
“It’s strange because, unlike sexual assault, domestic violence is so closely related across genders,” Converse said.
People ages 18-24 are most likely to experience domestic violence and Converse said college students are at the highest risk of all types physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
“College students face a unique risk because, for a lot of people, this is where they will experience their first serious relationships,” Converse said. “There is both a strong desire to be with someone and a lack of life experience to recognise and get out of abusive situations.
Campus Wellness also tabled in the University Center in the two days leading up to the event to encourage support and debunk victim shaming. They handed out purple ribbons in a
sign of solidarity toward those who had suffered abusive situations.
“One of the biggest things we want to do here is stop putting guilt on the victim,” Converse said. “These things are really challenging to talk about but this is a good arena to talk about issues without being too personal about it.”
Following with its healthy relationships theme, Campus Wellness is entering its second phase of hosting the first annual Welly’s contest to depict consent in healthy relationships.
Converse said students and groups interested in participating need to email her their scripts by the end of the week to be entered in the competition and have their videos shown.