October is recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Union College, along with the Knox County community, signed a proclamation this week declaring it locally as well.
The proclamation was signed Monday, Oct. 7 in the Sharp Academic Center on Union’s campus. Those there to sign the proclamation included: Marcia Hawkins, Ph.D., president of Union, Wendell Lewis “Skip” Hammons, Jr., Knox County District Judge, Gilbert Holland, Knox County Attorney, and Renia Owens and Dana Brown, two domestic violence victim advocates.
According to Brown, domestic violence is a very real problem on college campuses. In statistics provided by Brown, it was reported that 21 percent of college students have experienced domestic violence by a currentpartner. Additionally, 13 percent of college women report they were forced to have sex by a dating partner; 60 percent of acquaintance rapes on college campuses occur in a casual or steady dating relationship; and more than 13 percent of college women report they have been stalked.
These statistics are what makes Brown so appreciative of Union College for taking an active stance on raising awareness.
“I would like to thank Union College for their commitment to the Knox County Domestic Violence Council and the community,” Brown said. “By educating others about domestic violence, we are increasing awareness and providing valuable information of resources to victims of intimate partner violence.”
Hawkins added that it was a privilege for Union to work with the Knox County Domestic Violence Council because domestic violence encompasses all types of people.
“This is a very real problem that permeates all income levels and cultures. I’d like to see domestic violence gone within mylifetime,” Hawkins said. “But in the meantime, we need to work person by person and step by step to educate the community and help victims heal.”
In addition to the proclamation, Union College will host a panel discussion Oct. 24 that will allow students and members of the community to talk to a survivor and experts in relevant fields of study. Called “Conversations With a Survivor,” event includes dinner and is free to the public for a limited number of preregistered guests. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. Child-care will be available through Union College’s Common Partners service program.
Brown added that there is currently a domestic violence support group that is open to the community and students of Union College that meets on a weekly basis. This is a free group.
If you would like more information about the support group or would like to make a reservation for “Conversations with a Survivor,” contact Brown at 606-392-1101.