By Carley Crain
According to a study done by the United States Department of Justice, one in five women are sexually assaulted during their time in college – and many of these cases are incidents of dating and domestic violence. October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and some Springfield College students have been affected by domestic violence in some way – typically through their own interpersonal relationships or within family.
At the end of September, the Department of Justice announced a $21.72 million grant that will directly help reduce sexual and domestic violence on college campuses across the country. The grant aims to better equip and train public safety officers, encourages schools to combine different offices to combat sexual violence, and includes additional support for HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges/Universities.
Black men and women are more likely to experience domestic violence and sexual assault compared to other races, according to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Black Women are also almost three times more likely to die from domestic/sexual violence than other women, according to Time – which is why the Department of Justice has made it a priority to support colleges that have a higher population of BIPOC students.
At Springfield College, the Department of Public Safety’s most recent Clergy Report reported no cases of domestic violence or statutory rape and had only one case of rape and dating violence during the calendar year 2021. While these numbers are very low, most survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence do not report what happened to law enforcement, typically because of five main reasons: guilt, shame, fear, avoidance, and uncertainty, according to The National Library of Medicine.
So far this semester there have already been two instances of domestic disturbances on campus, which is already more than last year’s statistics.
Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Women of Power club, the Title IX office, and Men of Excellence combined forces for a group event, titled: Tinder In Real Life. The event featured a panel discussion about domestic violence with Gary Enright, the Associate Director of the Counseling Center, Title IX coordinator Erin Leeper, and graduate student Natalia Kompocholi. With a diverse student population attending the meeting representing different genders, numerous perspectives were presented about domestic violence.
Additionally, on Thursday, Oct. 20, Purple Day will be celebrated on campus, which encourages students to wear the color purple to support domestic violence survivors.
On the Springfield College Title IX Instagram, Purple Thursday is described as, “a way to show support for survivors of domestic violence. The SC community is encouraged to wear purple in any form in support of domestic violence awareness month and show that you firmly stand against intimate partner violence in all forms.”
Photo Courtesy NPR.org