Washburn’s office of sexual assault education and prevention has conducted a grant project through the Office on Violence Against Women, Department of Justice, which provides the campus with a series of free relationship violence awareness events. The events are intended to educate the Washburn community with a better understanding of relationship violence, overcoming relationship violence and supporting those who have endured the violence. The Sexual Assault Education and Prevention and Mabee Library has partnered with the Washburn University psychology department to conduct a three-part relationship violence awareness series that educates the community, survivors and supporters about relationship violence awareness. All of the events will continue throughout October in recognition of relationship violence awareness month.
Relationship violence can vary between mental, emotional and physical violence. It is a common assumption that a relationship is not abusive or violent, unless you have bruises, however that is not true, and abuse can come in many different shapes and sizes. Quite often people who are in an abusive relationship don’t realize that they are in one until they are physically abused.
Oct. 1-12: Clothesline Project Instillation
This project will be standing for 24 hours per day for two weeks to recognize relationship violence in the Union breezeway between the LLC and the Memorial Union.
Oct. 3: Consent and Bystander Intervention
The event will be located in the Mabee Library from 5 p.m. -6:30 p.m. The event will touch base on the basic overview of recognizing relationship awareness. They will have free pizza provided by Friends of Mabee Library.
Oct. 4: Active BODstander Skill Shop
This is the first of a three-part lecture by the psychology department’s “Healthy Relationship” series, which will take place from 4 – 4:45 p.m. in Mabee Library, room 204. The event attains new information and is not collaborated with Washburn Experience classes.
Oct. 9: Make Clothesline T-shirts
The event starts at 11 a.m. and continues through 1:30 p.m. in the Union. This event invites students to share their story or support someone who has endured relationship violence by creating a personal message on a t-shirt.
Oct. 15: Active BODstander
This event is hosted in the Union Underground at 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. It will include a free taco bar to the first 30 students. It will discuss how to train to become a bystander who can take safe actions when enduring a violent relationship taking place.
Oct. 16: Healthy Relationships
The final and third part to the lecture series will be 4 to 5:30 p.m. on the main floor of Mabee Library. This session’s discussion will consist of values, needs and wants in an abusive, healthy and unhealthy relationship.
YWCA’s week without violence begins.
Oct. 18: Open Mic Poetry Read Against Relationship Violence
This event will take place from 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. in the Union Underground. You are advised to bring up to three different poems and can read one you wrote, or a poem written by someone else that has sentimental value. Your poems can be candidates to be published in the next issue of “Ichabod’s Speak Out.” Ask the event coordinator for more information when you arrive.
Oct. 25: Sex After Dark
This event will take place 6 to 7 p.m. in Mabee library, room 204. Positive Directions staff will be hosting and answering anonymous questions regarding sex, which will be texted through a screen.
Oct. 30: The Importance of Sharing Your Story
This event will take place 4 to 5 p.m. on the main floor of Mabee Library. This event will give students a chance to connect with other students who have endured and overcome relationship violence in some aspect. This student panel will give the community the students’ perspective about creating a safer campus.
The project coordinator of Sexual Assault Education and Prevention, Shelley Bearman, wants students to feel safe to discuss these topics.
“We want people to feel like they have somewhere to go without being judged. It’s important to know that it’s a judgement free place to just to get some information and if you find yourself struggling to reach out for help, just know that we’re here for you,” Bearman said.
The events are open to all of the Washburn community. Bearman said that these events give the bystanders, faculty and students the opportunity to learn what to do if they witness relationship violence.
“Our community really cares about what happens to our students,” Bearman said.
Alaina Canary, Washburn University student, believes that these are important discussions that need to be held.
“I think we, as a culture, normalize violence and let people get away with it, both men and women. There’s a lot of people that don’t even know how to call what happens to them abuse so when you go to these things, it’s kind of like an ‘oh’ moment, because it does qualify as abuse. It’s un-normalizing this and saying that this is wrong,” Canary said. “This is not how a relationship should be, you should not have to put up with it, and I think it helps people heal who are trying to heal. It’s really hard to find a community when you feel alone, after you come out of a relationship that is so isolating. Finding support in other survivors, it makes it easier to heal.”
If you or someone you know is in a violent relationship, seek help. You are not alone.
Counseling services provides confidential care for survivors. Contact counseling services at 785-670-3100 or visit their office located in Kuehne Hall, suite 200 for additional questions or guidance. Counseling Services is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Drop-in appointments are welcome between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays.