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AAUW puts on gender inclusive Halloween

by Breonnah Colon - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Oct 31st 2017 10:30 pm
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October is typically considered to be a month of fun, with young children and adults alike eagerly looking to its last day — Halloween. The month is full of spooky themed events like Halloween parties, faux cobwebs and spiders, and maybe even a few of the ‘walking dead’ hanging out in the world of the living. However, there is another, more sinister reason for October marking our calendars: domestic violence awareness.

From the beginning up until the end of the month, organizations such as Willow, the local domestic violence center in the Rochester area work to promote awareness for the issue. 

According to the organization’s website, the center serves as a way to “prevent domestic violence and ensure every survivor has access to the services and support needed along the journey to a safe and empowered life.” Some services provided by the center are a 24-hour hotline, counseling for victims and emergency shelter, amongst many others. 

These services are vital because they serve as a means that not only offer victims the help they desperately need, but also provide a shield for victims that could potentially save their lives. While the image of victims tend to portray battered women, men are also victims of domestic abuse.

Statistics regarding abuse show that the number of men and women closely resemble one another. According to ncadv.org, “nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.” The website goes on to explain that one in every three women and one in every four men are victims of domestic abuse over the course of their lifetime. Needless to say, domestic abuse knows no gender.

Of the many victims of abuse, the most common age demographic, specifically for women, is between 18 and 24, roughly the age of college students. In the attempt to shed light on this issue as well as help support Willow’s work, The College at Brockport’s American Association of University Women chapter hosted a Gender Equity Night. The event was a Halloween party themed fundraiser, which granted students access to information regarding domestic violence as well as services regarding support and assistance provided by the college.

Amidst tables of candy, face painting stations and music, was a donation bin open to all students willing to participate in the fundraising and one of the colleges very own Restore advocates.

College advocate Nicole Posluszny explained that Restore is a “community resource” that has been partnered with the college for the past 10 years and offers free services that are available to victims of sexual violence. 

Much like the services provided by Willow, individuals who seek assistance from Restore have access to counseling and advocacy throughout legal processes pertaining to sexual assault or abuse. Their presence at AAUW’s celebration served as a way to spread awareness and reach out to students about their service across campus.

“[Collaborating with AAUW] could be beneficial for everyone who attends the event because it shows there are resources for students [who need them],” Posluszny said. “So, if someone does need to come [to our office], they will be able to.”

Even if the office, which is located in the Center for Select respect downstairs of The Seymour College Union, there is a 24 hour hotline number students can use. The number for Monroe County is 546-2777.

While the Gender Equity Party Night was a fun way to raise awareness for domestic abuse during the month, it certainly will not be the last event hosted by the club. President Bailey Morse explained students can expect many more events to crop up throughout the course of the year. Morse said that in addition to raising awareness on campus, the club aimed to introduce a new kind of event to the college campus as well as leave a mark about the club.

“We have been keeping our legacy in mind and we wanted to start an initiative that would take place annually,” Morse said. “We wanted to bring together all aspects of campus, including cultural clubs, academic clubs and service all working together on a project, which is something Brockport has never really seen before.”

AAUW has some pretty big plans for the student body within the upcoming months. Its main goal is to help all individuals achieve empowerment through inclusion and advocacy. Morse says students should expect a lot from the next year.

“We are here to move mountains,” Morse said. “You can either join us or you can have your world shaken.”

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