Photo by Rebekah Hampton
By Samuel Still, Assistant News Editor-
UTC’s Center for Student Wellbeing started Domestic Violence Awareness Month by using chalk to write valuable information for members of the UTC community, to learn about domestic violence on college campuses.
Hosted on Oct. 1 in Heritage Plaza, the chalking event invited students, faculty and staff to join members of the Center for Student Wellbeing in writing statistics about and resources for people dealing with domestic violence.
According to the center’s Assistant Director for Education and Prevention, Megan McKnight, domestic violence is a common occurrence in relationships and it is necessary to help those suffering from it and to prevent it from happening to others by being informed about the issue.
“This topic is important to talk about with college students because not only is it a common issue impacting about 1 in 4 women, 1 in 9 men and 1 in 2 transgender people, but college students report increased difficulty with identifying abusive behaviors and the majority are not sure how to help someone experiencing abuse.” McKnight said. “It is important to become more educated about the signs of healthy and unhealthy/abusive behaviors and the resources available to help.”
McKnight went on to explain how the Center for Student Wellbeing defines domestic violence and what types of behaviors can be considered domestic violence.
“Dating [and domestic] violence is violence that has been committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.” McKnight said. “There are many different types of dating and domestic violence, including emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, financial, and academic abuse. Ultimately, violence in relationships is about exerting power and control over another.”
For UTC student Katie Headley, the chalking event helped inform her about domestic violence and she thinks more people should learn about it to help themselves and others.
“A lot of people don’t realize that they’re in a situation before [violence] happens, and a lot of people have a hard time getting out of [abusive relationships].” Headley said. “So just know that whether you’re a student or an alumni or anybody in the UTC community there are a lot of resources to reach out to, and I think it is important that people use those resources.”
Students experiencing domestic violence can reach out to Survivor Advocacy Services at the Center for Women and Gender Equity, the Counseling Center and/or University Health Services for confidential support.
Additionally, the Title IX Coordinator, the Center for Student Wellbeing, the Office of Student Outreach and Support and the UTC Police can provide non-confidential assistance for domestic violence situations.
The contact information for all of these resources, as well as additional information about domestic violence, can be found on the Center for Student Wellbeing’s website here.
“Students can get involved in the events happening on campus to become better informed.” McKnight said. “Students can also make a big difference by believing their friends when they tell them about abusive behaviors and dynamics in their relationships and by intervening and challenging peers who perpetuate these behaviors.”
Students who are looking to learn more about domestic violence and how to help, are encouraged to attend events hosted by the Center for Student Wellbeing and the Center for Women and Gender Equity. A full list of upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness Month events can be found here.