Psi Chi, the international psychology honors fraternity, sponsored an event in the University Student Commons on Thursday, Nov. 21 to raise awareness about domestic and intimate partner violence.
“We raise awareness like we are doing with this event to debunk myths, stereotypes and teach kids about healthy relationships so they can grow up knowing what is acceptable and what is not,” said Leigh Busby, a member of YWCA Richmond.
During the presentation, Busby discussed different types of abuse, including those that are often looked over and ignored such as financial, spiritual and emotional abuse.
“It is always about power and control,” Busby said. “Many times abusers will try to manipulate every one of these different types and victims will suffer a combination of all of them.”
The event featured interactive questions on some stereotypes associated with victims with answers such as “they are always female” or “they are doing it for revenge.”
“I think stereotypes are very common and everyone believes them,” said Kelsey Richardson, a senior and member of Psi Chi. “We need to break the stereotypes so that more people will speak out against it.”
In addition to raising awareness about domestic and intimate partner violence, the event sought to teach ways family members and friends of survivors and victims can reach out and respond. These tips included being patient, empowering the survivor to make decisions after the experience and validating what they feel.
“Knowing how to respond to those who suffer from any kind of violence is really important because it could affect whether or not they feel comfortable confiding in you and feeling safe sharing something very personal and frightening,” said Briana Johnson, a junior psychology major who participated in the presentation. “I think how you listen and respond to them can make all the difference in how and if they seek help out of their situation.”
Students received information on local organizations that provide services to those who are affected by domestic, sexual and intimate partner violence, including VCU’s S.A.V.E.S, an organization that offers support to victims and hosts educational events for the student body.