October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month


Domestic violence is a problem that is not talked
about very often. The month of October is well-known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but much less attention is given to the month’s other purpose – domestic violence awareness.

According to Safe Horizon, a victims’ service agency that provides assistance to victims of violence in the United States, one in four women will be affected by domestic violence, and most incidents go unreported. With domestic violence on the rise, members of the K-State community are doing what they can to increase awareness about the issue. Last month, student organizations and advocates against domestic violence tried to gain awareness about the issue on campus.

The sorority Alpha Chi Omega, for instance, has domestic violence established as their national philanthropy. The women raise money through events and spread awareness during the month of October. Money raised is donated to the Crisis Center, Inc. in Manhattan, which offers free and confidential help at their 24-hour hotline, 1-800-727-2785, as another outlet for victims.

“Awareness is the biggest problem,” Hallie Wolf, Alpha Chi Omega’s vice president of philanthropy and junior in English, said. “[Statistics] are higher for domestic violence, [but] it’s not something that’s really talked about.”

The sorority also chalked the sidewalks and handed out buttons and pamphlets. They hosted an event in April with the fraternity Alpha Kappa Lambda called, These Hands Don’t Hurt. The event encouraged students to take a pledge of nonviolence, signified by a handprint on the “Promise Wall” and a $1 donation which benefited the crisis center.

In addition to the crisis center, K-State Women’s Center is open to all K-State students, including women and men. Located in Holton Hall, the center serves as a tool for anyone that has been victimized by abuse, violence or rape.

“We will go to the hospital with victims and sit with them, accompany them in court, help a victim’s family and friends cope with the stress of the crime,” Mary Todd, director of the center, said. “And if needed, help the victim get a break from classes.”

Todd said the work they do includes giving out about 2,000 booklets and around 4,000 pamphlets during the summer orientation for freshmen. They also give presentations and provide small group discussions.

The center was created in 1973 and the center serves the campus by promoting a zero tolerance violence policy and atmosphere.

According to the Safe Horizon, women between the ages of 20 and 24 are at the greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence. With both the women’s center and Alpha Chi Omega working to raise awareness on campus, the two organizations have hope that these statistics will start to decrease.

“We need to make sure our society will promote raising girls that lets them stay on the trajectory to be smart, fabulous, powerful and strong,” Todd said. “We also need to make sure boys are being raised to be ones of honor and integrity.”

Jamie Cockerham, vice president for public relations and marketing for Alpha Chi Omega and sophomore in business administration, said the importance of what their philanthropy does is prepare people for possible situations they might be placed in.

“Even if you do or don’t know someone who has been affected, it is still an important topic,” Cockerham said.

While domestic violence is slowly becoming a topic discussed more and more, the organizations said they think there is still a need for awareness and prevention in the Manhattan community. Both the women’s center and Alpha Chi Omega are working to lower the statistics and create a nonviolent atmosphere here at K-State.

This article was written for an MC200 class through the A. Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication.