Lander University recognized the impact of domestic and dating violence during October’s observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
During a two-day awareness campaign, students left symbols and messages of hope on a Tribute Wall to recognize people who have escaped a domestic/dating violence situation or whose lives have been impacted by this violence.
During a campus Resource Rally, students and staff learned about community resources available to help those in need.
Catie Young, Victim Services Manager at the Greenwood County Victim Assistance Office, said domestic and dating violence occurs across all age groups, and many people are unaware of the many services offered to help them.
“Among young people, dating violence can be a serious problem and is more widespread than people realize,” she said. “We want to help teens and young adults understand what healthy relationships are and help prevent incidents of violence.”
A report from the American Psychological Association found that up to 19 percent of teens experience dating violence. The National Coalition against Domestic Violence reports that one-in-four women andone-in-nine men experience intimate partner violence. National data show that one-in-five victims of homicide are killed by an intimate partner.
“Services are available throughout Greenwood County and our surrounding areas to help those affected by dating or domestic violence,” Young said.
Representatives from Beyond Abuse, an organization serving people in Greenwood, Abbeville and Laurens counties, said their work focuses on victims of sexual assault and sexual violence.
Claire Wieters, a prevention specialist at Beyond Abuse, said a wide range of services, including medical and therapeutic care, are available for children, teens and adults. “Treatment and therapies are tailored to help each individual,” she said.
As an education specialist for Beyond Abuse, Brittney Chambers said her work is in elementary, middle and high schools. “I talk to students on a level that they can understand,” she said, emphasizing that education and awareness programs are key to preventing sexual violence and child abuse.
“Our message is that we want people to know that help exists,” Young said, “and we encourage people to speak out and seek assistance when it is needed.”