Knowledge is power when it comes to domestic violence

Valley educates students on signs of abuse and how to get help. 

By Savannah Simmons, Staff Writer

A great hand-drawn purple banyan tree caught the eye of students walking passed the Student Union Plaza advocating the stop of domestic violence.

October serves as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Student Health Center made sure that students know the warning signs and facts surrounding the subject, so they know if they should seek help and where they can get it.

“Our goal is to raise awareness,” said Carolina Moreno of the Student Heath Center. “Domestic violence is real.”

Domestic violence is defined as “all acts of physical, sexual, psychological, or economical violence” that may be committed by a family member or intimate partner.

Laminated flyers from thehotline.org that stated facts, such as one in every four women will experience domestic violence, 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women, 15 percent men, and females between 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk, were on the table for students to look over.

“We don’t give out pamphlets to take home because what if the other person sees it?” Moreno said. “It may not be the prettiest situation so we do that for their safety.”

Some warning signs on the pamphlet include a partner who displays extreme jealousy, who is insulting and pressures their partner into sex when they are not willing or sexual acts they are uncomfortable with.

“Sometimes people think, ‘Maybe it’s not happening to me,’” Moreno said. “But they look at the warning signs and realize that they are experiencing these things.”

Clipped to the banyan tree were purple paper hearts with messages of encouragement and hope: “breathe darling” and “you will get through this.” were some of the kind words left.

“If that was your friend, what would you tell that person?” prompted Moreno to students wanting to leave their own message. “This is our tree of love, strength, courage, and support.”

The Student Heath Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and provides information for anyone who thinks they are experiencing domestic violence. Other sources of help they promote are the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-978-3600 and Rainbow Services at 310-547-9373 and rainbowservicesdv.org.

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