The windows of the Women’s Center, known for their positive messaging. (image credit: Megan Palmer)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Deborah L. Coffin Women’s Center is taking the week of October 16-20 to raise awareness and support for survivors.

The Women’s Center will be tabling throughout the week in the Student and Dining Center where students can receive information about what healthy relationships are, while also accessing resources, such as hotlines and crisis centers, that can help themselves or others.

These tables will be set up in the Student Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday and from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday, as well as from 5-6:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Dining Center.

Additionally, the Women’s Center will be sponsoring a drive at these tables to create self-care kits for women in nearby shelters. They are asking students and faculty to donate items such as hand soap, dish soap, shampoo, conditioner, diapers, disinfectant, trash bags and anything else they believe would be beneficial. Students and faculty are welcome to help in assembling these care packages on Thursday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Women’s Center, located in the Green Center.

Community members will also have the option to fill out a purple heart at the tables to show that they stand in solidarity with victims of abuse. These hearts will eventually be displayed to demonstrate that the SNHU community supports those who are victims of intimate partner violence.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States, an average of 20 people are abused by an intimate partner every minute. Every year, there are approximately 10 million victims of domestic violence. On an average day, domestic violence hotlines receive upwards of 20,000 calls.

“It’s almost inconceivable in the world that we live in, but in part of the 1970s, there weren’t even laws around domestic violence,” shared Director of the Women’s Center Brooke Gilmore. “It wasn’t even a term that people would use to explain what was happening when [people] were being abused by their partners.”

In 1910, the US Supreme Court stated that women did not have the right to charge their husbands for battery for the sake of avoiding a “he said, she said” conundrum within the courts ( Gilmore explained that even with the progress that has been made, there is still a stigma surrounding survivors and who those survivors are.

“We still have these assumptions around what domestic violence looks like,” said Gilmore. She then went on to elaborate on those assumptions, sharing that people often think only certain people are at risk of being victims of intimate partner violence. “It can happen to anybody of any background or identity, and it does. It takes the form of verbal, physical [and] emotional abuse. It impacts people of all backgrounds… so we want to call attention to what that looks like, even between two people in a relationship on a college campus.”

Gilmore concluded encouraging students to stop by one of the tables in the Student Center or in the Dining Center to show support for those victims of intimate partner violence, and to fill out a purple heart to demonstrate that SNHU stands in solidarity with survivors.

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