Domestic violence is a local issue

By ELIZABETH MAHOLIC,

LORI EELS and ALYSSA RAPELJE

Guest Columnists

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Domestic violence is a silent killer.  It is an incredibly profound feminist issue prevalent both nationally and internationally.  We need to concern ourselves with the issues of domestic violence that happen locally and realize that these actions happen in places we know, to people we know.

For our Women’s Studies final project in Professor Hellwarth’s class, we were asked to raise awareness about domestic violence, especially within the local community.  The main reason we were asked to focus locally was so we as a class could become more familiar with the area and the problems that exist within close proximity. To accomplish this, we placed posters displaying local domestic violence statistics and a dramatic photograph around campus in order to spark a reaction among our peers. The very next day, most of the posters were taken down, which made us wonder why. Are people offended by the image, which shows the hard reality of the problem? Or did they not want to face the statistics that hit so close to home?

One in four women will encounter domestic violence at some point in their lives. So, out of our Women’s Studies class that has about 30 students, around seven of them will experience violence in the home. In 2012, 141 Pennsylvania women lost their lives to domestic violence. Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten.

“I think that it’s sad with a dash of disgust,” said Alexander Rowden, ’17.

Stephanie Latour, ’16, said, “I think that at this point it is extremely sad that this is still an issue here in the U.S. I think it says a lot about the culture we are being raised in and the lack of respect and reverence not only for these people as women but also for their rights as fellow human beings.  Also, that violence is the only way that those people feel as though they can express themselves.”

Finally, Maddie Orlop, ’17, said, “Domestic violence awareness should be raised. With this awareness, women should also be educated to know that if self-harm is used as a threat in a relationship, it’s not healthy, and it’s not their fault.

It is important that each individual does their part to end domestic violence. The first step is learning about domestic violence to get a better understanding of the signs of it. The next step would be to talk about domestic violence to educate others. And final step is to intervene.

An important resource directly within the Meadville community is Women’s Services, which since 1977, has served the Crawford County area.  Their mission is to meet the needs to children and adults in the area who are victims of not only domestic violence, but sexual violence and homelessness as well. They strive to “exemplify and promote a feminist philosophy in all activities” so that “each individual has the right and responsibility to be self-determining and to make decision that are appropriate for their life.”

 

Visit pcadv.org or womensservicesinc.org for more information.