Rally on campus raises awareness for domestic violence


Anisa Jibrell – News Writer

 Soaking rain and gusty winds rattled the Verizon tent as people scurried by clutching their umbrellas and clasping their hoods. But the fury of Mother Nature’s winds didn’t deter the domestic violence rally from carrying on.

Violence Prevention Victim Advocacy and Support Center (VPAS), the Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic, and Verizon partnered to raise awareness on campus about domestic violence. If enough signatures from students on campus are acquired in support of the cause, SCSU can win $10,000 to donate to the Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services (UCDVS)—a domestic violence program supported by BHcare, a local mental health authority that provides domestic violence services.

Students were invited to spin a numbered wheel to answer questions pertaining to domestic violence.

“We wanted to make sure there were interactive educational activities and then we also have the resource information–local and campus information on healthy relationship and unhealthy relationships,” said Catherine Christy, director of VPAS; coordinator of the Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART).

UCDVS provides services for victims and their children at two sites located in Ansonia and North Haven. Services provided are free of charge and confidential and support 170 different languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It also provides a temporary confidential shelter for women and children affected by domestic violence. UCDVS confidential safe houses have advocates available 24/7 to help families and individuals rebuild their lives.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that “1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.” The NCADV is an organization that collaborates with other national organizations to “promote legislation and policies that serve and protect victims and survivors of domestic violence,” as well as to provide education and programming.

The UCDVS caters to residents of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, West Haven, and Woodbridge.

“We thought as a company at Verizon wireless that it’s our corporate social responsibility to raise awareness at our local community partners which are our schools,” said Denval Lawrence, recruiter for Verizon Wireless. “SCSU has produced a lot of great business leaders for us so we decided to come back and give back in terms of dating and domestic violence.”

This is the first time Verizon is doing an event of this magnitude on campus. In the past Verizon has partnered with career services and the school of business.

“We’ve partnered with many other departments at the school for other events but we’ve chosen Southern Connecticut State University out of all the schools in Connecticut because of our great partnership with all the departments here,” said Lawrence.

The legal definition of domestic violence is, “any abusive, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household.”

Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States, according to the NCADV.      

Students and faculty were also invited to Engleman Hall to watch a 15-minute clip of “Telling Amy’s Story,” a documentary film and public service media project that seeks to help in the fight to end domestic violence, followed by a panel discussion.

Photo Credit: Staff Photo  

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