October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month; however, there doesn’t seem to be much awareness on campus.
Students are calling for more awareness of domestic violence in light of recent sexual assaults on campus.
In 2015, 157 women were killed in Texas due to domestic violence. This was the highest recorded number in over 10 years, according to a CBS Austin report.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have reported being physically abused by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence statistics.
Students believe domestic violence is not talked about enough on campus.
“It’s one of the most increasingly underreported crimes,” said Samantha Smothermon, applied sociology sophomore. “I think it’s important to continue to have ongoing discussions about the victims and perpetrators, so we remember that sexual assault happens on a daily basis—and Texas State is not prone to that.”
Domestic violence is any physical, sexual and mental abuse that comes from an intimate partner. Verbal abuse falls under the umbrella of domestic violence as it may psychologically abuse the victim.
Victims can experience emotional stress such as depression. Taking a stand against domestic violence and letting victims know they are not alone may help those who are afraid to open up about it.
“Communication from both parties can be interpreted in a different way than what was really intended, and that is how arguments are started,” said Arika DeHoyos, interdisciplinary studies junior. “Some things are taken out of proportion when in reality it was nothing serious at all, and someone always ends up getting hurt, whether mentally or physically.”
Recognizing early signs may be difficult if there is not awareness about the issue. Being properly educated about what is considered to be domestic violence can help spread awareness.
Signs of domestic violence can be threats to family or friends, pressuring the victim to have sex or the victim feeling trapped in a relationship. For instance, a person could make his or her spouse feel as though they have no control over his or her own life.
Domestic violence affects victims, family members and friends. Bystanders may feel just as helpless and avoid speaking up about what has happened.
Some students believe having educational panels or training sessions on campus explaining the dangers of domestic violence can help students.
Travis Moore, aquatic biology sophomore, said Texas State should make it a priority to inform incoming students about domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Perhaps even having a new part of Bobcat Preview devoted to awareness of sexual assault,” Moore said.
To be a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in San Marcos, students can participate in various events or simply speak up about the issue on campus.
The Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center will host the Family Violence Task Force Conference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 14. “Every Voice Matters: A Call to Action” will feature presentations focused on spreading awareness and offering help for victims of domestic violence.
In addition, the HCWC will hold the Caldwell County Domestic Violence Awareness Walk 9-11 a.m. Oct. 15 in downtown Lockhart.
Texas State’s sociology department has partnered with the HCWC to put on “Coaching a Culture to End Violence.” The panel discussion will feature various speakers, including members of Men Against Violence. Stop by 12:30 p.m. Oct. 19 in the philosophy dialogue room in the Comal Building to become more aware of domestic violence in college life.
Oct. 20 is Go Purple Day, and people are encouraged to wear and share purple using the hashtag #Stopthehurt or #TxDVAM to spread domestic violence awareness on social media.