Organization sheds light and provides resources on abuse

Kinsey Gustafson

Kinsey GustafsonNews Reporter

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is being focused on at SDSU throughout October. Campus Women’s Coalition is hosting various events for it.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the SDSU Campus Women’s Coalition is setting up an event in hopes to bring awareness across campus.

The project will feature 13 mannequins, or silent witnesses, placed on Main Avenue in Brookings and each have a different domestic abuse story written on them.

This idea originated in Minneapolis, Minn., in early 1990s. There were 26 women, each having their own personal story, and a 27th woman to represent all of the untold stories of domestic abuse.

The women marched to St. Paul, Minn., carrying a wooden cutout of a female figure with plaques on their chests. The plaques contained the women’s individual stories on them.

The Campus Women’s Coalition will be holding their Domestic Violence Awareness event from Oct. 12-15 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“I think it’s important for young women to learn about domestic violence because I think that it’s an issue that more people have experience with than we would like to believe,” said Christine Garst-Santos, advisor of the Campus Women’s Coalition. “It’s Important for women to know that there are resources there for them and that they are not alone.”

Domestic violence can be identified as a variety of things. It can range from physical abuse to psychological abuse. A victim can be frightened, hurt, injured and in some instances killed from the abuse.

“This sounds like an event that everyone on campus would be interested in,” freshman Megan Merwin said. “I think it’s an important topic that everyone should know about.”

Young women can get information at this event about what are okay behaviors in a relationship versus what are red-flag behaviors that could lead to future domestic violence.

“Domestic violence should not happen to anybody, but unfortunately it does8212;and it will continue to happen if people continue to remain silent,” said Molly Miles, president of Women’s Coalition. “While women are often the victims of domestic violence, we think it is equally important that men also learn about domestic and intimate violence.”

The Campus Women’s Coalition stresses the importance for all members of society, both male and female to become informed about domestic violence.

“It’s about building social intolerance toward domestic violence, and in order to do that we think everyone needs to be involved,” Miles said.

The type of events and awareness The Women’s Coalition is involved with holds great significance for college age women just emerging into the world and finding out who it is they want to be.

“It’s important to learn about domestic violence because I think college is a time when people are experiencing their first long-term relationship,” Garst-Santos said. “We want to get out information about healthy relationships. Sometimes people feel silly saying my boyfriend did this or this. Hopefully we’ll get the information out there and they can always call the domestic violence shelter.”

There will be members of the coalition at the event as well as volunteers from the Domestic Violence Shelter. Both groups will be available for information about relationship warnings that lead to domestic abuse. Individuals may also talk to both groups about a personal experience and get advice about what to do.

People can reach help through the National Domestic Violence Hot line (1-800-799-SAFE [7233] or TTY 1-800-787-3224). Help is available to callers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is also local help through the Brookings Domestic Abuse Shelter at 1-888-643-5400.