The Nasty Truth: Domestic Violence
On Oct. 17, the Nu Theta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. along with the M-Power Peer Education Network collaborated with the ODU Women’s Center to present “The Nasty Truth: Domestic Violence.” The event began with each organization introducing themselves, and a video presentation was played displaying quotes from domestic abuse victims and survivors to set the mood for the event.
Following the video presentation, the facilitators conducted an open discussion in which audience members were encouraged to answer questions on what domestic violence is, what the warning signs for it are and who it impacts. Emphasis was put on the importance of men attending the event, for it is important to acknowledge that men can be victims of domestic violence as well.
Statistics were presented to give the audience an idea of just how much domestic abuse occurs. It was stated that more than 57 percent of college students have dealt with some form of domestic violence; 43 percent were women. These were only the instances that were reported. Following the statistics, a true or false game was played to see how much the audience knew about the reality of domestic violence.
The speakers defined domestic abuse as anything from shoving, threatening or restraining to uninvited sexual encounters or cyberstalking. It was emphasized that this could happen to anyone including men, women, children and the elderly.
The topic of drug use and its correlation to domestic abuse was addressed and the conclusion the speakers came to was that though drugs can influence it, they are not the root cause behind domestic violence. The only person held accountable for the abuse is the abuser, never the victim. The audience was asked to contemplate reasons as to why people in abusive relationships stay.
The reason people stay in abusive relationship is usually something pertaining to economic dependencies, social isolation, cultural obligations and others of the sort. Other reasons people stay include fear, embarrassment, feeling of normalcy, low self-esteem, love, peer pressure, pregnancy and hope. Some warning signs of domestic violence include extreme jealousy, animal cruelty, controlling behavior and blame. 70 percent of domestic violence related murders occur after the relationship has ended. Those who survive the relationship usually suffer from some form of post traumatic stress disorder.
To conclude the presentation, the facilitators urged the students to take action to help prevent domestic violence in the ODU community. Students were encouraged to ask questions to people who show the warning signs of being in an abusive relationship or signs of domestic abuse. Possible questions to ask are “Are you safe?” and “How can I help?” Campus resources that are available to those dealing with domestic violence include the women’s center, counseling services and the YWCA.