By: Cassidy Martenson
Many may think of October as the beginning of fall and the season of all things pumpkin spice, but to a large sector of the community, it is much more.
October is national domestic violence awareness month, a time to unite the community and advocate for victims of abuse. The IU South Bend community will be doing its part to contribute to domestic violence awareness during this month.
A partnership between the IU South Bend Honors Program, Student Counseling Center, the YWCA, the SOS/Family Justice Center and Indiana Wealth Management has allowed the campus community to come together to do their part in the fight against domestic violence. Students can expect a donation drive, social media posts, informational videos, and online awareness events.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.”
Additionally, the South Bend Tribune recently released an article stating “Amy Stewart-Brown, executive director of the St. Joseph County Family Justice Center, said the center has seen a 50% jump in calls to its crisis line from mid-March to mid-April.”
According to Neovi Karakatsanis, Director of the Honors Program, “Survivors need to know that they are not alone, that peace and healing are within reach, and that there are resources they can access both on campus and in the larger community.”
The honors program in partnership with the Student Counseling Center will be posting information twice a week about the facts of domestic violence and support services available.
Posts will come in the form of videos or graphics and will be accompanied by the hashtag #IUSBsupportssurvivors2020. Students are encouraged to get involved and post their drawings, art, graphic designs, poems or other creative posts to social media with the hashtag.
The Honors Program will release two videos for the month, with the first already released on Monday. The first video was led by Hannah Walker, one of the marketing directors within the Honors Program, and details the facts of domestic violence and how students can get involved on campus this month. The second video will be led by the Student Counseling Center. According to Walker, this video will be “a trauma-informed mindfulness practice to help survivors heal, and to help all of us to engage mindfully, and walk in solidarity with survivors of abuse.”
In addition to video campaigns and social media posts, the Honors Program will be accepting donations throughout the month of October for the YWCA and SOS/Family Justice Center. Students are encouraged to donate masks, hand sanitizer, toiletries, and other items that are described in the video. The donation box is located in the honors lounge in the administration building.
There will also be a variety of socially distanced events for students to attend to learn more about domestic violence. There will be online campus programs and webinar events about Healthy Relationships, Safety Planning and Signals of Domestic Violence, and How to Be an Effective Ally for Survivors.
Details about upcoming events and donation needs can be found on the IUSB social media platforms. Follow IUSB on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat for more details and show your support for survivors.
According to Karakatsanis, “If people take a stand and walk in solidarity with survivors of domestic abuse, we can do a great deal to end the violence.”