October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. In an effort to increase awareness, Salt Lake Community College and the Thayne Center for Service and Learning are partnering with West Valley City to bring The Silent Witness National Initiative to campus.
“This is a nationwide display and has been in nearly every state,” says Linnie Spor, service leadership coordinator with the Thayne Center.
Ask yourself if your partner does any of the following:
1. Embarrass you with put-downs?
2. Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
3. Control what you do, who you see or talk to and where you go?
4. Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
5. Take your money or paycheck, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
6. Make all of the decisions?
7. Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
8. Threaten to commit suicide?
9. Prevent you from working or going to school?
10. Act like the abuse is no big deal or is your fault, or even deny doing it?
11. Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
12. Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
13. Shove you, slap you, choke you or hit you?
14. Threaten to kill you?
If any of these things are happening, you should seek help.
“We were lucky to partner with West Valley City and get this display here.”
The Silent Witness provides a stirring display of silhouettes of females, males, children and infants. Each one bears the name and story of someone who has died as a result of domestic violence.
Interspersed throughout the display are posters with information about domestic violence. The vision of Silent Witness is to educate the public through this display and other programs that support communities.
The organization hopes to eradicate domestic violence related deaths in the United States by the year 2020.
Domestic violence crimes are the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
According to the “No More Secrets: Utah’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Report 2011,” 19 Utahns died in 2010 as a result of domestic violence. This accounts for 32 percent of all homicides in Utah.
“[Domestic violence homicide] can be prevented if people are educated and know what to do,” says Spor.
A study conducted in part by Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing determined having access to shelters and their resources reduced domestic violence incidents by 60 to 70 percent.
The study also showed that the use of a shelter and their services was more effective than seeking court or law enforcement protection during the months following an initial incident.
Spor works closely with students at SLCC and community organizations such as the YWCA.
“One reason I’m so passionate is that my oldest sister passed away due to domestic violence and is one of the stories at the Silent Witness display,” says Spor.
The YWCA is one of the options victims may to turn to for help in a crisis. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest women’s organizations, having served women for over a century.
The women and children who walk into the YWCA generally arrive after a spur-of-the-moment decision when a crisis happens and a woman decides it is time to seek help.
“They usually come into the YWCA with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” says Spor.
The Silent Witness Initiative display will be at the Jordan Campus through Oct. 24 in the atrium and is free of charge.
“We encourage as many students as possible to stop by the display to become educated,” says Spor. “There should be zero domestic violence.”