National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Shane Beneke

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month, commonly shortened to DMAV, evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981, which was created by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Eventually, the event evolved into a month-long observance that mourned those who died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who had survived and connecting those who work to end violence.

Domestic violence impacts women, men and children of every age and background. According to a White House press release for NDAV, nearly one in four women and one in seven men in the United States have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

Here at Kent State, one of the most prominent figures in the fight to end the violence is the Women’s Center and the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services.

A number of events were held on campus for its Relationship Abuse Awareness Month. Kicking off the month was the Take Back the Night vigil on Oct. 5. Held in front of the MAC Center, participants marched throughout campus in attempts to raise awareness against sexual and relationship violence.  

One prominent detail to the Take Back the Night rally was a name burning ceremony. Alicia Robinson, program coordinator for the Women’s and Gender Centers, stated that Kent State is one of the few schools that do the name burning ceremony. Participants were given paper and pens to write down the names of their abusers, which are then set on fire.

“This is a time for survivors to burn the name of the person who abused them,” Robinson said at the rally.

Survivors, victims and advocates used this ceremony as a symbol for leaving their abuser in the past.

Another popular event for the month was the shirt making session for the Clothesline Project. Men and women affected by violence were given a chance to design a t-shirt to express their emotions. The finished t-shirts went on display Oct. 21 on the second floor of the Student Center.

While the Clothesline Project also increases awareness of sexual and domestic violence on campus, it also serves as outlet for victims to break their silence.

One of the most prominent and ongoing efforts put on by the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services is the Green Dot program.

While a Green Dot workshop was held Oct. 17, the movement runs year round. Each workshop teaches participants how to intervene in high-risk situations, such as instances of stalking or potential sexual assault.

Shane Beneke is the health reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].