October is a time to acknowledge the impact of domestic violence on our communities and show support to survivors through education and action. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 33.6% of Utah women (and 21.4% of Utah men) experience “intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.”
The 2021 USU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct showed that approximately 1 in 15 students and 1 in 15 employees shared they had an experience of relationship violence since coming to USU. Over half of those who experienced relationship violence did not tell anyone at USU, and 23.1% of students (25.5% of employees) did not tell anyone, not even a friend or family member, about their experiences. The top two reasons why they did not tell was they felt “it’s a private matter" and they “wanted to deal with it on their own” and they “didn’t think what happened was serious enough to talk about.”
“It can be easy to think that domestic violence is something that happens elsewhere, but the reality is it is happening within our very own communities,” said Felicia Gallegos, the outreach and prevention coordinator for USU’s Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information office. “Because of this it is each of our responsibility to learn to recognize the signs of domestic violence, know how to respond to survivors, and combat elements of our society that perpetuate harm.”
Utah State will have several events throughout the month of October aimed at showing support for survivors of domestic violence and educating campus communities.
- Each Wednesday, students and employees are encouraged to wear purple as a symbol to domestic violence survivors that they are seen and supported.
- SAAVI will host awareness booths on the Logan campus in the Taggart Student Center and Merrill-Cazier Library each Wednesday to provide education and resource connection.
- The Clothesline Project is on display on the Logan campus at The Junction, Beth’s Bistro, The Forum Café, Shaw’s 88, Luke’s Café, and the Hub. Each year, SAAVI, The USU Inclusion Center, and USU Dining sponsor this display of shirts decorated by survivors of domestic violence within the local community with their stories and messages of hope. Shirts are refreshed each Monday, so the community is encouraged to stop by often to better understand the experiences of survivors.
- On Oct. 21, SAAVI will host the second annual Lauren McCluskey Memorial Walk from 3-5 p.m. in the Fieldhouse. All members of the Cache Valley community are encouraged to stop by to take a walk around the track in remembrance of Lauren McCluskey and others the community has lost due to domestic violence. There will also be an opportunity to connect with and learn more about resources.
Follow @USUSAAVI on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter as they share statistics of domestic violence and bring awareness to characteristics of unhealthy relationships throughout the month.
“Domestic violence is something that impacts us all,” Gallegos said. “Take time this October to listen to stories of those that have survived, increase your awareness of resources, and take a stand against domestic violence. At Utah State, we are a family of Upstanders that stands up to prevent harm to another.”
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