‘Week Without Violence’ supports domestic violence survivors, seeks to educate

Kristen Grimmer

The Topeka YWCA will host its annual Week Without Violence Oct. 18-24, an event that hopes to bring the Topeka community and survivors of domestic and sexual violence together.

Seven nights have been planned during this event, each filled with a different activity meant to target all ages.

“We want everyone in the community to be able to take part in something,” said Nicole MacMillan, community coordinator at the YWCA Center for Safety. She Empowerment who has been part of the planning process to put this event together.

A film screening is being offered this year. The film, “Sin by Silence,” will run Tuesday, Oct. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. The film gives an inside look at women in the prison system who have been victims of domestic violence as it tells their stories.

Eileen Doran, the director of the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment, said that participating in this week is important because it lets people know that the center is there and that there is support for victims and survivors.

Doran also revealed the reason behind the name change from the Topeka Battered Women Task Force to the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment.

“We really do so much more than just help women these days,” said Doran. “The old name just didn’t cover all of the services we offer now. We’re still the same as always, but this name really allows for us to expand and grow as an important part of the community.”

Sharon Sullivan, assistant professor in the Theatre department, said that it’s important for students at Washburn to get involved.

“All of us have either been a victim of domestic violence or know someone who has at some point in their lives,” said Sullivan.

She firmly believes in supporting the Week Without Violence because it gives university students a chance to hear stories from survivors and to know that help is out there. Sullivan also said that giving the Topeka community a place to talk about domestic and sexual violence helps because it takes away the stigma from being a victim.

The Week Without Violence will run from Oct. 18-24 with different activities each evening. For more information visit www.ywcatopeka.org.