Salt Lake Community College partnered with Verizon Wireless last month to hold a panel discussion about domestic violence.
Attendees were able to ask questions in a judgment-free environment and gain a better understanding of the warning signs of domestic abuse and resources available to victims.
The panel included YWCA chief program officer Keri Jones-Fonnesbeck, SLCC student Ericha Schlehuber and SLCC Title IX & Discrimination manager Kenneth Stonebrook. Kelli Mackenzie from Verizon introduced the panelists and led the discussions.
Prior to the discussion, “Telling Amy’s Story” was played for the audience. The documentary revolves around Amy Homan McGee, a woman who endured years of abuse before being killed by her husband Nov. 8, 2001 in Pennsylvania.
Panelists then answered questions about domestic violence from students and the community.
Multiple questions were asked about possible warning signs.
“There are conscious, slow, methodical steps that happen while you enter into a relationship like this — and I say conscious — because nobody trips and hits somebody else that they love,” Jones-Fonnesbeck says.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will suffer physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner.
In spite of how common domestic violence is, Schlehuber warns that each situation is unique.
“[Domestic violence] will be different for everyone, how they experience it and what the signs are,” Schlehuber says.
A few individuals revealed that they or someone they knew had been in abusive relationships.
Stonebrook encourages any SLCC student who witnesses abuse to speak up.
“Students have a responsibility to each other, as well as ourselves,” Stonebrook says. “Look out for yourself, look out for other people, and if something is happening, step up and say something.”
SLCC provides support for those who are in abusive relationships.
Students can report incidents anonymously to Stonebrook’s office, and the Center for Health and Counseling is ready to help students talk through their issues.
SLCC has partnered with HopeLine to collect mobile phones and accessories for those at the college who need to find a way out.
It is the hope of panelists that the community will be more observant. The simple act of paying attention could save a life.
“Be aware,” Stonebrook says. “And when you see something, say something.”