Domestic violence and sexual assault are two huge issues society faces, and problems that a group of Ferris students are looking to put an end to.
Tamira Owens and Jessica Carter of Alpha Kappa Alpha will be hosting an event called “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” to shed light on the issue of domestic violence on campus.
“Some things that we will be covering are mental, physical and emotional abuse,” said Tamira Owens, a senior in business administration and president of Alpha Kappa Alpha. “We’ll be talking about some scenarios to keep the group engaged, such as the Ray Rice situation, other situations with celebrities that we might not know and some information about WISE, the women’s shelter here in Big Rapids. We’d also like to help those who might be in a situation to come out and be able to get answers to the questions they might have. We’ll have slips of paper that they can write down anonymous questions on, so they can get the answers that they want without being direct.”
Jessica Carter, a junior in criminal justice and also a member of the sorority, said that domestic violence was an issue that seriously needed attention brought to it.
“Like how a whole month is dedicated towards breast cancer, and different organizations put on different events specifically for breast cancer, I think we should have domestic violence events as well that bring people out and make them aware of it, said Carter. “There’s people that die because of abusive relationships, but you really don’t hear much about it.”
Owens and Carter both agreed that domestic violence tends to be an issue overlooked by the public and needs to be further addressed, more so than it already is.
“We really want a lot of campus participation, and to try to stress the fact that domestic violence is important, and not something that we just wear a purple ribbon for, or something that we acknowledge just because the awareness month is on the calendar,” said Owens. “We want to get people more involved, and try to get some discussion and engagement out of the crowd.”
Sexual assault, another issue that tends to be overlooked, was the prime focus for two television and digital media production major seniors, who produced and published a video that creates awareness about the realities of sexual assault.
The video was part of the Ferris in Focus show, in ‘Bulldog Health,’ was a collaboration with both Renee Vander Myde and Mark Van Lent of Birkam health center, and was done for TDMP 499, Advanced producing and directing.
“Renee presented a list of topics for the video to us and I thought sexual assault was the one that seemed heaviest, because it’s obviously been relevant lately,” said Kyle Panek, co-producer of the video.
Anthony Brock, also a senior in TDMP, co-producer and editor of the video, agreed that the issue carries a lot of weight.
“I think we tend to teach people to not to get raped. We teach don’t get raped instead of don’t rape,” Brock said. “So I think sexual assault is definitely overlooked. That’s what we wanted to go for in the video. We wanted to make it kind of daunting, to make you realize that things like this really do happen, it’s real.”
“Even one of the statistics that we showed in the video was that 60% of all rapes and forms of abuse actually go untouched and unnoticed,” said Panek. “A lot of people are pretty shy about it and obviously being on a college campus, it happens unfortunately more often than not.”
Brock and Panek both agreed that colleges, in a nationwide sense, need to crack down more on the cases of assault that they receive.
“I definitely think that colleges need to crack down a lot more on it,” said Brock. “It’s seems like it’s just such a touchy situation that nobody wants to crack down on it, but that means we have to crack down on it. It happens, there are people out here sexually assaulting other people. I really think that a lot of different universities really need to put an emphasis on this, because it’s one of those things that really shouldn’t be happening.”
Barbara Cook, a sexual assault advocate for WISE, the local shelter for women and children, saw the video and said that she thought it was effective.
“I do think the video was effective,” said Cook. “It provided a lot of facts that most people don’t know about sexual assault. A lot of times when you hear about someone being sexually assaulted, you’ll hear people ask what she was doing by herself at a bar or party, or what was she wearing. Unfortunately, victim blaming is something that our society promotes.”
Cook also agreed that we as a nation need to bring more awareness to the topic.
“I definitely think that sexual assault is sometimes pushed to the side,” Cook said. “It’s a hard topic to talk about and a lot of people don’t want to talk about it. It needs to come to the forefront in order for us to get a chance to end it.”
To watch the awareness video, go to Youtube.com and search Bulldog Health: Sexual Assault Awareness. “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” will take place Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in IRC 107.