domestic violence awareness month

Domestic Violence Awareness month is in full swing as a variety of organizations are working to bring awareness to the problem of domestic violence and the resources available for those in need. Tomorrow, students can participate by wearing purple — the color of Domestic Violence Awareness month.

On Wear Purple Day, students are not only encouraged to dress in their favorite purple preference — but more importantly — share with others why they believe ending domestic violence is important, according to a release from the Center for Women Students. Students can also use the hashtag, #PurpleThursday to bring the conversation alive online.

Among the many organizations striving to bring awareness to domestic violence is the Center for Women Students, located on campus in 204 Boucke.

Programming Coordinator Jennifer Pencek said sometimes people assume domestic violence is limited to partners living together or older couples, but really it can be any relationship violence — whether physical, emotional or verbal. This means the goal of the month isn’t just awareness, but education, Pencek said.

“It’s really a multifaceted goal where it’s raising awareness and also just educating people about what this really is and how relevant it is,” Pencek said.

Pencek said each individual’s takeaway from the month may be different, but simply being aware of the available resources is crucial. At the Center for Women Students, there are several opportunities to seek support or get involved.

“We provide free and confidential counseling and advocacy, and we also do peer education groups so if students want to get more involved there are opportunities for that too,” Pencek said.

In addition to the Center for Women Students, the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, which is located on Nittany Avenue, can also be a valuable resource.

Lindsey Faussette, the director of outreach and education at the Women’s Resource Center, said although the center is located off campus, the services aren’t limited to community members.

“We are available to university faculty and staff, even if they might not live in the county, as well as students, and we’re inclusive of anyone that wants to access our services, male or female, doesn’t matter,” Faussette said.

The Centre County Women’s Resource Center offers confidential crisis counseling, advocacy, education and has a 24-hour hotline for anyone needing support, Fausette said.

Even if you are unsure the resource center can help — it’s worth a call — because the center can direct you to other organizations or services that may be better suited to meet your needs, Faussette said.

Another important resource on campus that also provides confidential counseling and support is Counseling and Psychological Services, located in the Student Health Center.

Clinical Social Worker and Outreach Coordinator for CAPS, Mary Anne Knapp, stressed the importance of awareness of domestic violence and simply realizing the prominence of the problem.

“We saw 82 students last year who were dealing with physical abuse and 119 dealing with harassment or emotional abuse,” Knapp said.

Regarding Domestic Violence Month as a whole, Knapp encouraged students to partake in the events hosted throughout the month, as well as Stand for State workshops to learn about proactive intervention.

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