CONTENT WARNING: This story contains mentions of domestic violence. Use caution before reading.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to acknowledging those who have survived domestic violence and to be a voice for victims. According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 109 people in the state died from domestic violence in 2020.
Abuse can be difficult to detect as it can happen in several different forms. Understanding the types of abuse is the first step in getting help and ending the pattern of control. Domestic abuse can be identified as physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, elder abuse or intimate partner abuse.
The Slippery Rock University Panhellenic Council partnered with the Women’s Center to host the “Domestic Violence Awareness Month- Self Defense Class.” This event was held Wednesday, Oct. 27 in the Smith Student Center (SSC) Ballroom at 5:30 p.m. This event was focused on females although males could also sign up for the event. This class was meant to give students at SRU confidence and teach those how to protect themselves.
The Panhellenic Council Vice President of Judicial Affairs Hannah Harvey spoke on the planning process of the self-defense class.
“It was brought to my attention that women on campus did not feel safe as everyone thought they were,” Harvey said. “I figured with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month that it would be beneficial to have a self-defense class for all women on campus to attend. That way they would know how to handle a situation better if they were being attacked or put in that situation.”
The Women’s Center co-sponsored the event and assisted the Panhellenic Council in finding an instructor for the class. The Women’s Center provided resources for the event and helped spread the word to women on campus.
Women’s Center student-worker Joey Everett spoke on the importance of the self-defense class.
“We think it is really important to have some of this on campus because sexual assault is something that is sadly prevalent on college campuses,” Everett said. “We think that they issue of ‘my costume is not consent’ is something that needs to be addressed.”
SRU student Isabelle Jones instructed the class with her four other instructors from Foundation Martial Arts in Erie, Pennsylvania. Jones’ mother owns Foundation Martial Arts and helped provide the instructors.
The organizations’ first held self-defense class consisted of 30 participants. The Panhellenic Council is working to partner with the Women’s Center in the spring to host a second self-defense class.
To stay up to date with all events from the Panhellenic Council, follow @srupanhellenic on Instagram and Twitter. Students can also find more information about the organization on CORE.
To stay up to date with all events from the Women’s Center, follow @SRUwomenscenter on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
The Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance will host “Take Back the Night” on Nov. 4 from 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. in The Quad. During this event students on campus will rally against sexual assault and domestic violence.
To get involved by supporting victims, honoring those who have lost their lives or learn more about domestic violence, visit: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
If you or someone you know has suffered from domestic abuse, the following resources are available to contact. Domestic Violence Hotline phone number: 800.799.7233.SAFE (7233) or text ‘START’ at 88788.
National Domestic Violence Hotline website: https://www.thehotline.org/