Women’s Center and Peer Health Advocates Raise Awareness for Domestic Violence

Courtesy of awareness days website

Courtesy of awareness days website

Nia Neal-Smith , Contributing Writer

Every year, countless women are victims of domestic violence. October is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and William Paterson has scheduled events centered on raising awareness of the enigmatic issue.

William Paterson University’s Women’s Center and Peer Health Advocates have teamed up to teach students about the dangers and warning signs of domestic violence, as well as what to do if you or a loved one face similar situations.

The Women’s Center asked students to take a pledge to maintain relationships that are based on respect, equality, trust and communication and to never engage in any type of abuse— physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or digital.

“If someone you love is in an abusive relationship, it’s stressed that you listen to them, don’t judge them. It’s actually not always the safest idea to tell someone to leave first,” Theresa Bivaletz from the Women’s Center explained. “It’s like chocolate, if you tell someone they can’t have it they will crave it more. It’s the same with abusive relationships if you tell the person they need to leave they won’t want to.” 

Bivaletz sympathizes with those witnessing loved ones going through unhealthy relationships.

“It’s hard for friends to remain unbiased because you want what’s best for your friends, but remember to listen to the whole situation,” said Bivaletz. 

Courtesy of Laitescia Neal-Smith

At the event, a spinning wheel titled “What Would You Do” had students spin and answer questions about how they would handle particular situations. One of the questions asked, “What you would do if your friend post happy images of her boyfriend but confides in you that he controls who she talks to?” 

A student answered that her friend’s boyfriend should not control who she talks to and that she would tell her friend that she should not listen to him. If someone she knew was in an abusive relationship, she would tell their parents or trusted person about it, she said.

The Women’s Center stresses that those who are in abusive relationships should never stay quiet. They should try and get help and remember they are not alone.

For more information, contact the Women’s Health Center and follow their Instagram page at ‘CVSWP’ (Campus victim services) or go to Loveisrespect.org, a website geared toward college-aged students struggling with abusive relations.