Domestic violence affects millions of every race, religion, culture and status. With stay-at-home orders enacted to practice physical distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence rates have been on the rise. Isolation puts survivors at risk for increased abuse. The Center for Student Wellness is here to raise awareness through the efforts of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, also known as DVAM.
The Center for Student Wellness leads this annual campus-wide campaign in an effort to promote awareness, address prevention, and prompt response around domestic violence. Throughout the month of October, we will host a variety of events ranging from our own workshops on Bystander Intervention and Healthy Relationships, as well as events in partnership with ASUU, the Department of Safety, the Gender-Based Violence Consortium and our campus’ newly launched Center for Violence Prevention.
We invite you to stand in solidarity with those who have experienced interpersonal violence and join us in our effort this year. For updates, follow @uofuwellness or visit our website at wellness.utah.edu/DVAM.
A letter from the 2020 DVAM co-chairs
Domestic Violence is not something that is taken down by one person or in one month, instead it is taken down one action at a time over the course of many years. For this reason, we have chosen to make our theme #OneThingUCanDo; to share and celebrate the little ways we can support and better our community. We have formed a list of events, including talks from many amazing academic professionals and powerful student leaders, in formats that will allow us to connect while staying safe during the global pandemic.
The circumstances of COVID-19 has made it harder for victim-survivors to have access to resources as well as safe spaces away from home; because of this it is especially important that we work together to educate ourselves on how to help ourselves and others. Our committee wants to remind our community that we are all impacted by domestic violence whether that be directly or through the effects it has had on our loved ones. During the month of October, we hope to familiarize our community with the resources located on and off campus to promote their use with as many people as possible.
The tragedy that occurred to Lauren McCluskey has brought a national spotlight to our campus. We have the opportunity to foster change locally through our efforts to eradicate domestic violence and to put in the necessary work into making this campus as safe a space as possible. Our committee wants to do our best to respect and honor the passing of an important member of our community and ensure that her story will not be forgotten. We are aware of Lauren’s promise, and through our DVAM message we want you to know that “I will listen and believe you if someone is threatening you.”
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a great opportunity for me (Sam) to reflect on how my life has been affected by domestic violence. I have seen the victimization of too many people. Too many families have been destroyed due to impersonal violence. It is my hope that I can use my experience as a former police officer to help us find that #OneThingUCanDo to take down domestic violence.
Coming from at least four generations of women who have survived the impacts of domestic violence, it is my (Tayler) honor to serve on this committee. Through my research as a peer health educator, I have come to realize that my family is not alone in their experience. In fact, I have learned that there is no one face that represents what a victim-survivor looks like because interpersonal violence occurs whenever someone takes advantage of a difference in power.
My hopes for the impact of Domestic Violence Awareness Month is to make it easier for marginalized communities to have access to resources and feel safer doing so. In addition, I want to challenge our campus to ask themselves, “What is one thing I can do to better my impact in this world?” And I hope by the end of the month, we will all have an answer that we will act on.
Sam Zizumbo, MSW Victim-Survivor Advocate
Tayler Bseiso, ACES Peer Health Educator
All events will be held via Zoom. Click here to register. All events times listed are MT.
Sept. 28 @ 11:30 a.m. | DVAM Kickoff Information Session
Oct. 1 @ 1 p.m. | DVAM Kickoff Information Session
Student co-chairs Sam Zizumbo and Tayler Bseiso will discuss the history of DVAM, anticipated events and ways you can get involved as a student, faculty, staff, organization, office, department, or on campus. Both sessions will cover the same material.
Oct. 14 @ 4:30 p.m. | Healthy Relationships Workshop
Come follow a relationship, any relationship, through its natural trajectory. Whether it be a casual hook-up, a blossoming friendship, a spicy pleasure-affair, or a committed partnership, we will identify what makes a relationship “healthy.” This includes what you want out of your relationships and the important role self-care, pleasure, communication and consent plays in all relationships.
Oct. 15 @ 4:30 p.m. | Check on U-Tah: Building Community through Bystander Intervention
Check on U-Tah empowers students to check on their community members and prevent harm from occurring. This workshop will discuss how biases, social norms and everyday barriers (e.g., technology, distractions) perpetuate harm and prevent community support. Through dialogue, interactive practice and self-reflection, participants will leave the workshop with increased abilities in being a good community member, noticing harm and holding one another accountable.
Oct. 22 @ 11:30 a.m. | Harm Reduction Student Leader Panel
This panel is a discussion-based webinar featuring student leaders from many areas on campus. This includes ASUU, Greek Life and our own ACES Peer Health Educators. Student leaders will share their own personal experiences of how biases, social, norms and everyday barriers have impacted them in relation to noticing harm. They will cover how to identify if you yourself are causing harm, how to call in someone if you see they are causing harm and how to build a stronger community upon the values of respect, healthy communication, etc.
Oct. 29 @ 11:30 a.m. | Victim-Survivor Advocacy Resources Panel
This event will highlight safety resources on campus. Representatives from Victim-Survivor Advocacy focused offices will cover the available wellness and support resources available for survivors of interpersonal violence. This event is intended to provide students with a better understanding of these available services and how to navigate the process of seeking support from advocates. From where to begin, the process in its entirety and addressing healing, we hope to provide a better understanding of these resources and answer questions those in our community may have.