October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and the Student Counseling Center is hosting events to raise awareness throughout the month.
On Oct. 1, the counseling center put together the Clothesline Project on the quad. Students were invited to decorate T-shirts in honor of those who have suffered through domestic violence situations.
“(The Clothesline Project) is a nationwide program that recognizes those who have experienced any form of domestic violence,” said Jenny Duncan, assistant coordinator and counselor at the Student Counseling Center.
An email from the Student Counseling Center said, “The Student Counseling Center invites students, faculty and staff to briefly write about their experiences with domestic violence, or to write words of encouragement for others, for our Domestic Violence Awareness Month ‘Wall of Stories’ campaign.”
Submissions should be sent to the Student Counseling Center’s email, firstname.lastname@example.org, by Friday, Oct. 17. These notes will be posted anonymously on the “Wall of Stories” on Monday, Oct. 20, in the Trojan Center Food Court.
Representatives from the Student Counseling Center office will also be there on Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. passing out information on domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behavior by one partner over another,” Duncan said. “It can take many forms, including emotional abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual assault and stalking.”
“The truth is, everything may seem perfectly fine in the beginning of these relationships,” Duncan said. “The controlling behavior and abuse may emerge and intensify as the relationship goes on. Every situation is different, but there are some behaviors that can be red flags that the relationship you are in is not a healthy one.”
For those who find themselves in abusive relationships, Duncan wants to tell victims that “there is hope and there is help.”
“No one deserves or asks to be abused,” Duncan said. “Talk to someone you trust — a close friend, family member, spiritual leader, counselor.”
Troy University’s Student Counseling Center provides confidential counseling, support and advocacy, for free, to students who have been affected by domestic violence. The counselors are trained to listen and be a source of support to those whom they are counseling.
To raise awareness, Duncan encourages students to “educate yourself about this issue and talk about it openly.”
“Abusers gain their power through silence,” Duncan said.
Duncan also encourages students not to ignore domestic violence if they see it in their families, friends, community, school or work.
“Let the person who is experiencing the abuse know you are there to help and be a source of support,” she said. “Don’t judge them.”
Students can also donate and volunteer with organizations that support domestic violence victims and their families.
“Funding for these agencies has been cut significantly over the past few years, so any contribution can make a huge difference,” Duncan said. “The House of Ruth is a great example of such an agency.”
In the meantime, students can participate in the events being held by the Student Counseling Center to spread knowledge and awareness of this issue.