April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the college has organized a series of events to raise awareness.
“A big part of being assaulted is not being empowered and aware, the more awareness and spotlight we have, the more we’re talking about it,” said Laura Manning, COCC student.
Check out one of the events COCC is hosting this month.
April 11, 11:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.
COCC Mazama Gymnasium 224
This event is staged to empower both men and women to recognize and escape dangerous situations. Participants will learn the basic self-defense strategies to focus on personal safety, according to Central Oregon Community College director of student activities, Taran Smith.
The Bend Police Department will be facilitating the workshop and Campus Public Safety will be present to offer more safety tips.
“The event is not gender specific, males are welcome too,” Smith said.
Movie: The Hunting Ground
April 22, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Campus Center Wille Hall, Bend Campus
As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, COCC will be screening the film “The Hunting Ground.” From the team behind “The Invisible War,” comes a startling exposé of sexual assault on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. Weaving together verité footage and first-person testimonies, the film follows survivors as they pursue their education while fighting for justice — despite harsh retaliation, harassment and pushback at every level.
Denim Day USA
April 29, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Campus Center Info. Desk, Bend Campus
The Denim Day campaign was originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court in which a rape conviction was overturned when the justices felt that because the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. As a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault, make a social statement through fashion by wearing jeans and a free button you can pick up at the Campus Center building reception desk.
If students want to be more involved they can contact Laura Manning email@example.com or Taran Smith whom is the Students Activities Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marie Nye | The Broadside
Combating domestic violence
On average, 20 people per minute are victims of rape, or physical violence. This totals to approximately 10 million victims a year according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many of these crimes are a result of domestic violence which includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, stalking, emotional and psychological abuse, according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Hayley Pursell, the Director of Services for Portland Women’s Crisis Line, explained that different agencies have different meanings for domestic violence.
“The use of abusive behaviors to gain power and control over another person is the definition we use,” said Pursell.
Some agencies only deal with one kind of abuse, but many deal with any form of abuse. PWCL deals with any form as does Bend’s local facility, Saving Grace.
It’s hard to know what to do if someone is being abused, or in most cases, if the victim even knows they are, according to Purcell.
“A lot of people don’t think mental abuse counts as violence. There are so many forms of violence and I think its hard for people to know if they are even in one,” Pursell explained. “One of the hardest things people don’t understand, is that men can be victims of abuse too. It’s not just women who become victims.”
An male victim of domestic violence whose name will be changed to Phil to protect his privacy, dealt with physical violence but said the emotional turmoil was more harmful.
“I didn’t know I was in a bad relationship while in it. I thought the way my girlfriend treated me was normal,” Phil stated. “If anything wrong happened, I was told it was my fault. After hearing it over and over, I believed it.”
Phil explained how because of this, he was led to believe he wasn’t good enough and hopes to advocate for domestic violence prevention.
“I’m a 6 foot tall male, no one would believe that I was scared of my girlfriend. So I didn’t ever let anyone know till it was long over.” Phil said. “I had a hard time not flinching when people made sudden movements around me for a long time.”
The next step after recognizing someone is being hurt or abused, Purcell advises believing them and let them know that you support them.
“Often times, the abuser tells them its their fault and that isn’t the case,” Pursell said, “Usually, just letting them know that you see it, are concerned and are there to support them if they need. If they do need support, give them emotional support and refer them to outside support.”
So what can you do to help those dealing or who have dealt with domestic violence? Purcell often informs people to stop making blatant statements about violence and believing that it can’t happen to you. One in three women, and one in four men will experience abuse in their lifetime, which is not a comforting statistic, Purcell stated. Lastly, it is never the survivors fault and we need to be holding abusive people accountable for their actions.
Elizabeth McKeown | The Broadside