The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Domestic Violence Awareness

Domestic Violence Awareness Month ended, with a renewed purpose to connect advocates across the nation working to end violence against women and children. As a way to achieve the purpose of this month, St. Joe’s Rape Education Prevention Program (REPP) and One Love Foundation hosted the Escalation Workshop to draw attention to sexual assault.

One Love Foundation is a nation-wide organization created to honor the memory of Yeardley Love who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend three weeks before her graduation from the University of Virginia in 2010. According to One Love, one in three women and one in four men are in a violent relationship in his or her lifetime. This is the first year St. Joe’s has a chapter of One Love on campus.

This organization was created by Love’s mother and sister in hopes of educating young people and starting a conversation about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors. In doing so, One Love hopes to empower people to trust their instincts and act when they feeling something is off in regards to violence in relationships.

Gabby Southworth ’18, Co-President of the St. Joe’s chapter of One Love, co-founded this organization for personal reasons.

“I was sexually assaulted and I was in a relationship that wasn’t healthy,” Southworth said. “If I can help just one other person, it makes everything just so worth it.”

Southworth described the need for organizations such as One Love and the conversations they begin.

“Our primary goal is raising awareness for relationship violence, because it’s real,” she said. “People don’t like talking about it because it is uncomfortable, but these people are not just statistics, they are our sisters, and our cousins.”

To illustrate the impact of relationship violence, attendees of the workshop were able to view a video which allowed organizers to demonstrate how people can intervene when they witness signs of an abusive relationship.

Caroline Schertle ‘18, Co-President of One Love, said there are many ways to reach out to support friends in all relationships.

“Know that you’re not alone and that people are here for you,” Schertle said.

In addition to One Love, REPP is an on-campus organization which strives to help survivors of sexual assault and physical/ emotional abuse in the St. Joe’s community. These individuals can be survivors of stranger, date or acquaintance rape, attempted rape or sexual assault, physical abuse or emotional abuse in a relationship.

According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), individuals aged 18-24 are the most at risk group for sexual assault. One in every six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, and one in eight men will experience sexual assault.

Raquel Kennedy Bergen, Ph.D., professor of sociology and advisor of REPP, explained what is needed from society to work toward ending this type of violence.

“Change the culture, that is the bottom line. It needs to become part of our conversation,” Bergen said. “It’s not a taboo subject, or something we should shy away from, but that it is talked about in classes, in dorms and on athletic fields. By having these conversations people will begin to question their own experiences and own behavior.”

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