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Empathy and education at the forefront of domestic violence awareness events at CCU

October 4, 2018
Take Back the Night Rally is at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the student union patio. It includes a march and speakout event.Take Back the Night Rally is at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the student union patio. It includes a march and speakout event.Take Back the Night Rally is at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the student union patio. It includes a march and speakout event.

In recognition of October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Coastal Carolina University’s LiveWell Office has partnered with several groups and departments on campus to host Sexual and Dating/Domestic Violence Awareness Week, with events on Oct. 4 and 10 that are open to the public.

This marks the 10th year that CCU has hosted an awareness week calling attention to interpersonal violence, according to Chris Donevant-Haines, the assistant director of the LiveWell Office.

“Through these events, we are able to have open and meaningful discussions about topics that often go unreported and unacknowledged,” Donevant-Haines said. “By adding educational and engaging programs on these topics, we hope to build empathy for survivors, encourage reporting, and educate community members.”

The first event, a panel discussion on domestic and intimate partner violence hosted by the Jackson Family Center for Ethics and Values at CCU, is on Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. The panel includes Kaitlyn Sidorsky, assistant professor in the Department of Politics; Deborah Breede, professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Culture; and Ina Seethaler, assistant professor and director of Women’s and Gender Studies, with cooperation from the Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown counties and the Rape Crisis Center.

The discussion will focus on the current challenges in reducing domestic and intimate partner violence in the local community. It will take place in Room 201-A of the Lib Jackson Student Union on the main Conway campus.

“Anyone who wants to learn to better support friends, family, colleagues, etc. who might find themselves in such a situation will find resources at these events,” said Seethlaer. “Hearing stories from people personally affected brings an issue to life in a very real way.”

Also on Oct. 4, the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) program is sponsoring a screening of the documentary “Private Violence” in the Coastal Theater at 7:30 p.m. The film explores the dangers American women face inside their own homes through the eyes of two domestic violence survivors. (Note: The film may contain material that is not suitable for children. Parental discretion is advised.)

The WGS program, housed within University College, offers a minor at CCU that focuses on the study of gender and its intersections with other identity markers. It sponsors and hosts events and lectures on campus that advance women’s and gender studies.

The SHORE Peer Educators at CCU will display The Clothesline Project (CLP) on Prince Lawn on Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CLP started in 1990 in Cape Cod, Mass., as a way for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. The shirts are then hung on clotheslines as a visual testimony of the issue of violence against women. This is the 13th year CCU has participated in the project.

SHORE Peer Educators are CCU students who help educate their fellow students about healthy living. They work with Counseling Services and LiveWell to raise awareness about psychological issues and to provide educational programs across campus.

The final event was scheduled at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 inside the Johnson Auditorium (Wall 116): the Take Back the Night rally, which typically includes a march and a speakout event. However, this event was canceled day of due to weather impacts caused by Hurricane Michael.

All the events are geared toward raising awareness and empathy, said Seethaler, but also focus on how people take action.

“Whether it is by working toward having legislation created or changed, by educating others about the prevalence of domestic violence and how it affects children and men, or by supporting organizations and projects locally and inter/nationally which work toward ending domestic violence … every individual has the power to stand up for the cause and bring about change.”

Additional resources:

Twitter: @LiveWellCCU; @CCUCounseling; @WGSCCU

Note: This story was updated on Oct. 10 to reflect a change in date for the Clothesline Project and the cancellation of the Take Back the Night Rally.