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Activities Target Domestic Violence

By Shefali Oza

STAFF REPORTER

Yesterday marked the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Week at MIT. The week, which will feature several events and is sponsored by Alpha Chi Omega and the student group Stop Our Silence, falls in the middle of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“Domestic violence affects everyone, and it is our community’s responsibility to respond and attempt to prevent it. The MIT community is not immune to unhealthy relationships and domestic violence,” said Jennifer A. Erwin ’03, treasurer of Stop Our Silence. The group is devoted to awareness and prevention of sexual and domestic violence.

“Awareness 101: Domestic Violence in College” is an AXO sponsored talk being held tonight in Baker Dining Hall at 8:30 p.m. Speakers “from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center will talk about domestic violence and give an overview of [it]” at the event, said Hiu-Fai Fong ’02, co-chair for planning AXO’s events this week.

In addition, Detective Sergeant Mary Beth Riley of Campus Police will teach a self-defense seminar. The president of Stop Our Silence, Radha K. Iyengar ’02, will “talk about how domestic violence is related to college students,” with an emphasis on dating violence, Fong said.

President of AXO Catherine Gutierrez ’04 said, “We are expecting a large turnout from a variety of people across campus.”

Ribbons promote visibility

AXO will be selling flower-grams in Lobby 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Thursday. The carnations and irises will be delivered to students this Friday. AXO will donate all proceeds to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

In addition, Fong said, “We’re giving out pamphlets at our booth and purple ribbons.”

Stop Our Silence is “holding an event to represent those affected by sexual violence in our community,” Erwin said.

Stop Our Silence will be handing out colored ribbons in the Student Center this week for students to “represent themselves and how they are or were affected by sexual violence,” Erwin said. The ribbons will then be displayed on a drop poster in Lobby 7 later in the week.

Stop Our Silence will also be handing out information about domestic and sexual violence, including statistics and resource lists, in the Student Center.

Domestic violence, a major issue across the nation, usually occurs on college campuses in the form of dating violence. Erwin cited research stating that “one in three adult women have experienced violence from an intimate partner and one in four college women experience violence from an intimate partner.”

Gutierrez emphasized that the issue touches MIT as well as other college campus. “Domestic violence affects men and women of all age groups and can be difficult to identify. Specifically at MIT, we fail to recognize many important issues because of the enormous work load,” she said.

Events will occur nationwide

National organizations are also sponsoring numerous events for this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence organized the “Day of Unity” on October 2. The Family Violence Prevention Fund sponsored “Work to End Domestic Violence Day” on October 3.

The YWCA is having its “Week Without Violence” from October 15-21 including “A Day of Remembrance” on October 15 and “Confronting Violence Against Women” on the October 18.

Stop Our Silence will also have a talk in February by “nationally respected educator and phenomenal speaker” Katie Costner about date rape, Erwin said. She says, “We hope to have about 500 people.”