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Film and panel fostered discussion about dating violence

Photo by: Jennifer Chacon | Staff Photographer

Students, faculty members and locals gathered on campus Feb. 22 to shed light on dating violence—an issue that led to the murder of a former Texas State student.

Tiffanie Perry attended Texas State in 2010, and was about to graduate with a business management degree until a violent ex-boyfriend took her life.

Perry’s mother, Catherine Shellman, produced the film “Not Enough Time” to bring awareness to dating violence and to prevent incidents similar to her daughter’s.

The film was screened at 6 p.m. at the LBJ Student Center Teaching Theatre, then a panel full of dating violence experts answered audience questions.

“Not Enough Time” told the story of Tiffanie Perry’s life and death. After the breakup, Perry’s abusive ex-boyfriend shot her and turned the gun on himself.

Through film interviews from friends and family, viewers got an inclusive perspective of how dating violence can impact victims and their loved ones.

Shellman gave her first presentation at the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center, and has since traveled across Texas to speak to high schools, shelters and college campuses.

“Anyone and everyone would benefit from information on dating violence, how to recognize it early on and how to get out safely,” Shellman said.

During the panel, the university Title IX coordinator Dr. Gilda Garcia said those who have experienced sexual assault or an abusive relationship should seek counseling.

“If you’ve noticed some red flags and then hear an argument, right then is when you intervene to make people safe,” Garcia said.

The Title IX web line is open 24/7 for students to report any cases of sexual misconduct. Garcia can be reached at 512-245-2539.

Jemm Corona-Morris, prevention educator at the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center, wants to help others notice red flags of abuse through his own experience as a survivor of dating violence.

Some red flags could be the ex sending constant messages after the breakup, pressuring for conversation or trying to persuade the other person to meet up.

The HCWC offers free and confidential services for residents such as the 24-hour hotline, counseling and community education. The center can be reached at 512-396-4357.

Dr. Hillary Jones, senior psychologist at the Texas State Counseling Center, said students should take advantage of the free services offered on campus.

“I hope all students know they have access to free counseling,” Jones said. “It’s all confidential. It’s a good resource to go if you’re not sure where to turn to.”

Jones said the abusive boyfriend’s emotional attachment to Perry stood out.

“If you feel like one person is your entire sense of self, that’s probably a good indication that the relationship is a little unhealthy,” Jones said. “Maybe seek out some help to determine if something in the relationship needs to change.”

The Counseling Center can be reached at 512-245-2208.

Whitney Bliss, licensed private practitioner in San Marcos, said those trying to get out of an abusive relationship should bring multiple people or have a police officer on the scene when they retrieve items from the abuser’s house. In addition, they should avoid posting locations on social media.

“Being aware of safety plans, talking to professionals, not hesitating to talk to law enforcement, talking on campus with Title IX and more can help so you don’t have to do it all by yourself,” Bliss said.

A peer educator for Men Against Violence said abuse thrives in silence—which is why friends and family should speak up if they notice signs of abuse.

Men Against Violence meets at 5 p.m. every Monday on the second floor of the Student Health Center. Students are welcome to visit for information, resources and assistance.

If students need a safety escort on campus, they can call the Bobcat Bobbies at 512-245-SAFE. In addition, they can call the Texas State University Police or the San Marcos Police Department.

Ranisha Dokes, criminal justice junior, said the event was beneficial because she learned about community resources.

“The panel could have been an eye-opener for students who didn’t know what that type of situation looked like,” Dokes said. “I learned about resources so people know what to do if they ever find themselves or a friend in that situation.”

The film and panel hit home for Dokes because of her mother’s experience with domestic violence.

“I’m glad they’re making domestic violence more aware to people so they know how to handle it,” Dokes said.