Domestic Awareness and Prevention Month is Over, but Education about it Isn’t

Domestic Violence

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Domestic Awareness and Prevention Month is Over, but Education about it Isn’t

(Credit to The Kristine Meza Foundation)

(Credit to The Kristine Meza Foundation)

(Credit to The Kristine Meza Foundation)

(Credit to The Kristine Meza Foundation)

Angela Donato, Contributing Writer

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October is domestic violence awareness and prevention month. The month is recognized as a call to action to end domestic violence, but now it’s November. So what happens?

The violence goes on, so the conversation around it does as well.

“Knowing about the resources that are available is important,” said Campus Victim Services coordinator Theresa Bivaletz. “Whether it’s someone themselves that want to reach or out or someone who has a friend that sees that maybe their relationship isn’t very healthy or is actually abusive, they need to know how to talk to them and how to support them.”

Campus Victim Services, which includes the Women’s Center, is located on the third floor of the Student Center in Room 313. Campus Victim Services is “committed to assisting survivors of dating and domestic violence, stalking, and sexual violence in their recovery process and empower the community to sustain a campus that is free from gender-based violence,” according to their page on the university website

Here’s how Bivaletz said you can be an advocate for victims of domestic violence.

Education 

Educating people on what domestic abuse looks like is just as important as helping people get out of toxic relationships and assisting survivors through their trauma. 

“Even though you’re in college already, you kind of have these learned beliefs about what relationships [should look like],” said Bivaletz. “Whether you grew up in a home where there was a healthy relationship or where there was an unhealthy relationship, that is what you saw.” 

Educating someone on which behaviors are abusive and which are healthy in a relationship can help them see red flags in a relationship, whether it is their own or someone else’s, and deal with them accordingly.

A lot of Bivaletz’s job involves educating students about this.

“Next semester we are doing a four-part healthy relationships series,” Bivaletz said. “We’re focusing on not just the abuse end of it, but what to look for in a healthy relationship and what that means.”

Tips for a Bystander 

It can be frustrating when someone who you are trying to help leave an unhealthy relationship doesn’t listen to you, but it’s important to never abandon them, and to remind them of their value.

“Leave yourself open for them to come back to you, and if you’re frustrated you don’t want to close the door where your friend might need you one day,” Bivaletz said. 

Bivaletz said another way to help friends in unhealthy romantic relationships is to “mold healthy behaviors with your friend and mold what a good relationship means on a friendship level.” 

Resources on Campus

You can contact Campus Victim Services coordinator Theresa Bivaletz at 973-720-2578 or email her at b[email protected] to make an appointment. She also welcomes walk-ins. 

Visit the Campus Victims Services online page here. It will provide you with information about the services offered for survivors of dating and domestic violence, stalking and sexual violence. These include, but are not limited to confidential advocacy, safety planning, a survivor support group and reporting sexual violence, website links and hotlines.

Bivaletz meets with students who have gone through or who are currently in an abusive relationship, sexual assault and stalking. She is a confidential resource on campus that students can confide in. She is not obligated to report to campus police under Title IX. Students can talk to her about what they are going through, get advice, connect with resources for reporting their situations and create a safety plan with her.