The Student Advocacy and Wellness Center will be hosting Domestic Violence Awareness Week this week.
Events and exhibits will take place throughout the week to spread awareness, teach students the warnings signs and honor lives lost.
“College campuses specifically tend to focus a lot of energy around sexual assault but not around domestic violence. So often they are correlated. I feel like we aren’t talking about the big picture yet,” said Corrie Pleska, survivor advocate and case manager for the Student Advocacy and Wellness Center.
On Oct. 7, there will be a screening of “Tragic Refuge,” a film about the lives of incarcerated Ohio women who are survivors of domestic violence.
“It speaks to the justice system, how we punish survivors for defending themselves and how we don’t take care of them prior to these deaths. The co-producer from the Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN) Nancy Grigsby will be here and do a Q&A afterwards,” said Pleska.
To better understand what domestic violence is and what resources are available to students, officials from campus and around the community have been invited to speak at the Law Enforcement Panel on Oct. 8.
Speakers will include Student Legal Services, the police, Wright State University Police Department, Title Nine Director Lindsay Miller, a domestic violence investigator from Xenia, an attorney and victim services.
“[We] want students to know what domestic violence looks like and be able to recognize that in their own relationship or their friend’s relationship [as well as] knowing where to go if you want to talk about it,” said Tylar O’Neal-White, the gender-based violence coordinator for the Student Advocacy and Wellness Center.
Alongside other events such as Digital Safety 101 on Oct. 7 and the Poetry Slam on Oct. 10, there will be two awareness events happening throughout the week: An Empty Seat at the Table and Turn the Quad Red.
“An Empty Seat at the Table is a tribute/memorial exhibit for people whose lives have been significantly altered or lost due to domestic violence. It highlights all the different ways domestic violence can take life away,” said Pleska.
For Turn the Quad Red, students are encouraged to write a red flag behavior that they have experienced or seen. The flags are then planted and will remain planted through Oct. 25.
“This was not your fault, it was someone else’s choice,” said Pleska. “It’s never your fault.”
By breaking down the barriers and stigmas of domestic violence, Pleska hopes to highlight all the different ways power-based violence takes place.
“Too often we hear domestic violence and we envision something between a man and a woman in a home in a family setting. That is not how we define domestic violence. As by the Ohio Revised Code, it is any form of violence against a family member, someone you have cohabitated with or have been romantically involved with,” said Pleska.
Although the Ohio Revised Code has a set description of what domestic violence is, Pleska emphasizes the importance of communicating that domestic violence is so much broader than what it is recognized as.
“What we’re hoping to do is let students know this can be happening in your relationship. It can take the form of stalking, [certain] behaviors online, name-calling or any kind of emotional or mental abuse, which is what lingers in survivors,” said Pleska. “I want students to learn about it, be aware of it, recognize it and know where to go if they need someone to talk to or they need some assistance.”