"More than one in three women (35.6 percent) and more than one in four men (28.5 percent) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime," according to a survey published by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011.
To draw attention to this situation, Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) hosted several events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
As one walked through the EMCC campus one could see red human cut outs that each represented a story lived by a domestic violence survivor. The Clothesline Project and Silent Witness cutouts are brought out every year to remind the students and staff that help is available for them, if they are in an abusive relationship.
The Silent Witness Exhibit is a project at EMCC provided by the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In this exhibit there are life-sized, red silhouettes, that each represent a person who died as a result of domestic violence. The stories of those who suffered are put on the cutouts in order for others to see them and relate to them. The idea is to spread awareness of this problem worldwide.
The Clothesline Project is another educational project. T-shirts are hung throughout campus containing a story of someone who knows, or who has been affected, by domestic violence. The T-shirts are used as a “canvas” on which their creators are allowed to express their emotion and give their testimony.
EMCC began participating in this nationwide project in 2007 and has kept adding T-shirts to it since then. “I know someone in my family that has suffered from domestic violence and seeing these T-shirts that contain a story allows me to see how others got out of it. It encourages me to help other people,” said EMCC student Victoria Beltran about the clothesline exhibit.
With these activities and tables with resource information the school showed the students that EMCC supports help for anyone that has, or is going through, domestic violence. “What I like most about these cut outs, and basically about the whole event, is that the school is allowing us to see that there will be help through EMCC,” says Lisa Lovejoy, an EMCC student. Bringing attention to the problem on a college campus is important, because it is usually during college when students begin to date and can start experiencing domestic violence.
“It’s very sad to know how many women suffer from this type of violence, especially from their ‘so called partner’,” says Alondra Vazquez, a student at EMCC who was shocked when told that one in every four women suffered from domestic violence.
Although the majority of victims are women, men also suffer from domestic violence. The abuse is not only physical but also emotional and sometimes this type of abuse can be more harmful. Domestic violence occurs in every culture, social class, and age group, but women with fewer resources are at a higher risk.
After seeing the cut outs on campus Jorge Espinoza, a student at EMCC commented, “I know many women that have been abused and it’s nice to see that EMCC is doing something to help.”
At EMCC every year these cut outs are put out and many events are held in order to inform and encourage anyone who might be afraid to admit they are being abused.
If you are affected by Domestic Violence and need help, visit the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence at http://www.azcadv.org/.