Topekans say ‘NO MORE’ during annual week without violence

October is a busy month. It is the month that celebrates Halloween, homecoming and fall break. Not only is October breast cancer awareness month, but also domestic violence awareness month.

Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behavior. It sometimes includes physical abuse, sexual abuse and almost always includes some kind of emotional or verbal abuse. It can be all of those things working together in a pattern to keep somebody controlled, trapped and hurt.

The 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men have been affected by rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner, which are all forms of domestic violence.

“We know that domestic violence happens in all sorts of populations, we know that it effects teens, college students, young adults, people who are older and everybody in between,” said Laura Burton, public education coordinator at the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment. “So we know that it’s an issue on campus at Washburn because it is an issue for every campus in the nation. People who are college age students (18-24) are pretty high risk for sexual assault and dating violence and we want to talk about these issues, making sure people understand the warning signs and understand what they can do to help when they see something happening.”

To promote domestic violence awareness month, the YWCA and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is holding its 19th annual Week Without Violence. The theme for this week is NO MORE: together we can end domestic violence and sexual assault.

As explained on the national campaign website: “NO MORE is a simple idea with the power to unleash new, major attention to the fact that there are people all around us who are hurt—directly or indirectly—by domestic violence and sexual assault.”

“The idea is that we need to make sure that violence stops and that we need to prevent violence and we need to send a message that it’s not okay. So the no more campaign and the no more symbol was designed to increase visibility of the issue and have one this one big unified campaign that everybody around the country was using,” said Burton.

The YWCA has been tabling all week until Thursday in Memorial Union during lunch to raise awareness of the issue. Students can drop by the booth to get information about the NO MORE campaign, get photos taken to submit to the national NO MORE gallery and learn about local resources for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

There will also be a film screening of “Forbidden Voices: How to Start a Revolution with a Computer” Wednesday, Oct. 16 in the Washburn University Memorial Union Vogel Room from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The film features the famous bloggers, Yoani Sanchez, Zeng Jinyan, and Farnaz Seifi, who aren’t afraid of the dictatorial regimes in their respective home countries of Cuba, China and Iran.

“It’s really just a story about women coming together to make changes and to make powerful social changes, which we think is a great message for the week without violence,” said Burton.

Students can also participate in the March to End Domestic Violence at noon Friday, Oct. 18 at the Kansas Capitol Building. Participants will travel through downtown and have free hot dog lunch and take part in action stations to learn how to stay involved. The march will take place rain or shine and will end at YWCA.

The YWCA Center for Safety Empowerment has many services including a 24-hour crisis helpline, emergency shelter, individual counseling, support groups, court advocacy, prevention programming and batterer’s intervention to help those who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence.

“When we talk about domestic violence, we talk about women a lot because those are primary victims, but we also want people to know that anytime somebody is trying to control somebody or use physical or sexual abuse against someone that behavior is not okay and it is not acceptable,” said Burton.