Silence hides violence

Student’s benefit concert raises awareness of abuse

Kelsea Renz | managing editor

Vandi Johnson says domestic violence is a problem close to her heart.
“I have a family member who experienced domestic violence,” Johnson said. “The issue is out of control.”
Johnson, senior in social work, organized a benefit concert on Saturday, Nov. 16, at Twisters Bar, to promote awareness of domestic violence and to raise donations for the Pittsburg Crisis Resource Center. 
Johnson organized the concert as a final project for her Advanced Social Work Practice II class.
“We had to raise awareness for a social issue in the community,” Johnson said.
The event, dubbed “Silence Hides Violence,” featured four local bands that played for free. The volunteers who worked the event also sold T-shirts and bracelets.
“The safehouse is a place set up specifically for people who have experienced abuse,” said Amber Jameson, senior in social work. “They provide everything for the people who come to them and help them get back on their feet.”
Johnson’s event attracted more than 200 people.
“This topic affects many, many people and people want to support efforts to fix it,” said Brittany Mitchell, sophomore in psychology. “Even if you have not experienced domestic violence you may either know someone who has or can sympathize with the ones who have.”
Johnson also had more than 50 volunteers help, mainly family and friends.
“Once my family and friends started hearing about what I was planning, they just asked what they could do to help,” she said.
Johnson publicized the event, but a bigger concert was held in Joplin, Mo., the night before, so the radio stations would not publicize hers.
“A lot of people forgot about my event because of the bigger bands that were in Joplin,” Johnson said. “But I would have loved for the event to have done more.”
The one thing the volunteers thought could have been better would have been holding the event at a different venue.
“A lot of people didn’t want to drive all the way out to Twisters for small-name bands,” said Jameson.
Overall, the event brought a lot of publicity and awareness to the issue of domestic violence, Johnson said.
“A lot of people who came to the concert said they appreciated what we were doing,” she said. “I think we made a difference.”

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