October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and VCU will host events to inform students about identifying relationships that have intimate partner violence.
Tammi Slovinsky, coordinator of sexual assault and domestic violence services at VCU’s Wellness Resource Center, said cases are not limited to married couples. Domestic violence may not seem like it’s an issue among colleges students, but VCU estimates that 11 percent of students have experienced intimate partner violence.
“I try to use relationship violence or intimate partner violence, when I’m talking with students because that resonates more,” Slovinsky said. “Domestic does tend to imply family, you know husband, wife…intimate partner violence speaks to all types of relationships more often.”
Two events are currently scheduled for domestic violence awareness month.
The Red Flag Campaign is an event that raises awareness about the potential warning signs of relationship violence. On Oct. 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., red flags will be placed on lawns near Harris Hall and the Bear Hall. VCU wants to encourage students to say something or do something if they see warning signs that a relationship could be abusive, Slovinsky said.
“The Red Flag Campaign is important because it’s trying to stop the violence before it starts,” she said. “Somebody who is overly jealous, tells the person what to do, how to dress, how to look, won’t let them hang out with friends, pressures them into sexual activity that they aren’t ready for,” she said.
Sarah Smith, a sophomore, said she is happy VCU is making a commitment to end relationship violence.
“I’ve never been a victim, but I know people who have, and it feels good knowing VCU cares,” Smith said.
Sexual Assault and Violence Education by Students (SAVES) will also be on the Bear Hall lawn, doing one-on-one peer education. SAVES will ask students to share situations where they have been an active bystander in trying to stop violence. Those who share their stories will be given a free T-shirt in what in an attempt to let students know they are not alone, Slovinsky said.
The Wellness Resource Center will host a White Ribbon Campaign. The campaign will attempt to get men interested in helping end gender-based violence. Male students will be asked not to shave their facial hair. Fake mustaches will be handed out to those who may be unable to grow facial hair, Slovisnky said.
Students like junior Jason Reid said they look forward to the opportunity to support the cause.
“I get to grow a beard and support domestic violence awareness. Sounds like a great idea to me,” he said.
The Well is still working on finalizing other events, Slovinsky said. They will post updates on their web page, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr for students interested.