Editor’s note: The following story talks about domestic violence. If you are experiencing domestic violence and need help, the K-State CARE Center is located at 206 Holton Hall. For 24/7 confidential help, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available at 1-800-799-7233 and on their website at https://www.thehotline.org/.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the K-State Center for Advocacy, Response and Education is hosting events throughout the month to encourage students to support survivors of domestic violence.
CARE will be at the Student Union on Oct. 21, 24 and 27 tabling for awareness.
“We’ve done a lot of different tabling events, including ‘These Hands Don’t Hurt.’ If you stop by our table at the Union, we will have little purple hand cutouts, and you can write a message of support to a survivor,” Stephanie Foran, assistant director of CARE, said. “We’ve been putting them on our door, just so whenever someone comes into the office, they know it’s a supportive environment.”
Foran said CARE also put together a “purple out” on Oct. 20.
“Purple is the international color for domestic violence,” Foran said. “We’re doing a social media campaign where if you are wearing purple you can tag us … and use our hashtag — we’ll feature you in our story. It’s really meant to garner support for domestic violence victims and let them know that they’re not alone.”
According to the K-State CARE Instagram, participating students can post pictures of themselves in purple using #Every1KnowsSome1, #DVAM and #PurpleOut to show their support throughout the month.
Blake Riddle, freshman in secondary education, said he wasn’t aware October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month before hearing about CARE’s campaign.
“Honestly, I’ve never heard about the month before,” Riddle said. “I think domestic violence is definitely something that should be talked about, and if giving a month to it is going to help avoid it, then I think it’s a great idea.”
Foran said many students aren’t aware of this month because of how little domestic violence is discussed.
“The thing about domestic violence is that it’s so pervasive,” Foran said. “It’s also kind of an unspoken thing in our society. It’s not really brought to light a lot. Most domestic violence victims suffer in silence.”
Foran said there are many myths about domestic violence, including the idea that domestic violence only impacts women.
“What we’ve been trying to do is highlight that it’s not only a women’s issue, it’s everyone’s issue,” Foran said. “Men face domestic violence. They often face more subtle forms of violence, like psychological and emotional abuse. Also, children are often subjected to a lot of domestic violence, especially if their parent is being abused. That has long term consequences for children in terms of trauma and also relationship building down the road.”
If someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, Foran said the best thing to do is listen to them.
“The most important thing that you can say to a survivor of domestic violence is ‘I believe you, and how can I help?’” Foran said. “I think that supporting your friend and not questioning their story is really important.”
Another organization on campus supporting survivors of domestic violence is the Alpha Chi Omega sorority’s philanthropy.
“Alpha Chi’s philanthropy here at KSU is to support and raise money for the Manhattan Crisis Center, which is an organization that helps victims of domestic violence,” Sophie Bond, member of Alpha Chi Omega and freshman in French literature and advertising, said.
Bond said Alpha Chi will raise money through their annual philanthropy event.
“Our annual philanthropy event [is] called Boot Scootin Boogie, which is a fundraiser … that we do with the fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho,” Bond said. “It is a swing dancing and barbeque event that we host at the Alpha Chi Omega house. It’s a $5 entry fee, and all proceeds go to the Crisis Center.”
Bond said Alpha Chi’s philanthropy is especially relevant to college women.
“It is very important to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence because a lot of people don’t think it’s a problem at all,” Bond said. “It’s really important to educate people on college campuses because it affects women ages 18 to 24 the most.”
Foran said the CARE office is open to everyone, no matter the situation.
“One of the things that we highlight in our outreach presentation is that there is not one face of a victim,” Foran said. “There are so many different ways that abusers can control someone. I would rather someone come in and not think their situation is ‘bad enough’ and still get resources. I’m not here to minimize anyone’s experiences. I’m here to help them get help.”