October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To raise awareness SVP is putting on the Purple Ribbon Project. They are offering Purple Ribbons to any professors and departments on campus that are a safe place to seek help.
“That’s just a way of showing A) awareness for domestic violence because there’s still a lot of misinformation on what that is and how frequently it happens so just bringing that awareness item to Pitt State..,” said Megan Woodfield, SVP co-advisor. “…but also any place you see a mason jar the staff or the office it’s sitting on, those people received a big packet from us about a bunch of different information and resources and stuff like that so that lets the victims and the survivors know that if they need to talk to someone and that office is a safe place to do so,”
Ribbons can be found in any department, on any professors’ desk, in the campus police station, and in the health center. Those who wish to seek help can contact any individual with a purple ribbon on display and they will provide important resources.
“It’s important to raise awareness about this topic because it’s still prevalent in our society, according to the KBI, the number of domestic violence incidents during the year of 2017 were 22,708..,” said Stephanie Spitz, campus victim advocate. “…That’s just in the state of Kansas alone, and those statics are under-reported, until there are no more domestic violence issues within intimate partners, families, roommates, friends, other romantic or platonic relationships this is a topic that needs to be discussed,”
SVP will also be putting on an event called “Clean Up Domestic Violence.” This will be their eighth time putting on this event. They will be collecting donation items for the Safehouse Crisis Center located in Pittsburg. Individuals who collect the most as well as small groups and large groups will win prizes such as a pizza party or an Amazon Fire Stick.
“Some of them are recurring and some of them just come from the students themselves, we have a master list of all of the events we’ve ever done but if a student comes in and they’re super passionate about a certain topic, or like they’re all so crazy creative and awesome so sometimes they’re like ‘Oh, I just thought of this casually on a Tuesday of something I can do’ we go back and forth with that,” Woodfield said.
They will be collecting donations Oct. 23 and 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Overman Student Center. Donations can also be dropped off at Shatter the Silence. Winners will be announced Friday Oct 25.
“Students on campus can get involved by attending an event we put on, volunteering to help at events, or by sharing content on social media..,” Spitz said. “…They can help others by learning the red flags of abusive relationships, supporting that person to get out of that relationship, knowing where resources are to point that person to, and by believing them, by doing these things, you too are saying that domestic violence has no place in this community and if it does happen, we’re here to support that person and believe them,”
SVP will also be hosting “Shatter the Silence” on Oct 24 from 5-7 p.m. This event will provide attendees with important information on how to support survivors as well as provide a self-defense workshop.
“I think that it’s important to raise awareness number one, I think that people understand that domestic violence exists but I think they have this idea of what it looks like that isn’t always what it looks like if that makes sense..,” said Ali Smith, Prevention education specialist. “…So we think of domestic violence as always being physical violence or we think of it as always happening between a married couple or only happening to women or domestic violence always happening to older people, middle aged individuals, so at safe house we see victims of domestic violence who have experienced every type of abuse except physical abuse, so we know that it is much more than physical abuse,”
Spitz will be hosting “Big Little Lies” a book discussion on Oct. 30 in the Axe Library. At the discussion healthy relationships, warning signs of abuse, assault, and hope after trauma will be discussed.
Safehouse has put on a variety of events throughout the month as well. They will be putting on two lunches and will provide information about domestic violence at them. They also are hosting a donation drive for the safehouse for items that will be needed such as laundry detergent and other necessities.
“Yes that physical abuse is something that we do see quite often and it is something that is dangerous and it is something that is concerning and it’s something that we need to be aware of but I think more people need to be aware of different types of abuse such as financial abuse that occurs in almost every case of abuse that we see,” Smith said.
Safehouse has displayed purple lights around downtown as well as in store fronts that wanted to participate in raising awareness.