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Student organizations promote awareness of domestic, sexual violence

ASU organizations teach bystander action during Domestic Violence Awareness month


A sign painted on the Memorial Union's window promoting Domestic Violence Awareness Month is pictured on the Tempe campus on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.

Several ASU student organizations advocated for the awareness of domestic violence and the importance of bystander intervention through Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) fact sheet, domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. 

The NCADV fact sheet also states physical violence, sexual violence, threats, emotional and psychological abuse and the frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically.

An average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute in the United States, equating to more than 10 million abuse victims annually, according to the NCADV fact sheet.

A third of women and one fourth of men have been physically abused by an intimate partner, according to the fact sheet.

ASU currently has three major clubs and programs on campus working to promote awareness of sexual and domestic violence: Team One Love, Sexual Violence Prevention program and Recovery Rising.

Emma Wheatley, a junior studying psychology and justice studies, is involved with the Sexual Violence Prevention Program as its coordinator.

She said the Sexual Violence Prevention Program offers bystander training, which teaches students how to be aware of what is happening around them.

The training is required of student athletes and Barrett, the Honors College students, but the program is starting its sorority training in an attempt to create student leaders on campus who are knowledgeable about being an active bystander on campus.

“For our bystander training, it’s first, (students have) to be aware of what’s going on,” Wheatley said. “When you see a situation which is dangerous, you step in if it’s physically safe for you to do so, or you call police or university staff to step in for you.”

With more and more celebrities coming forward with stories of sexual harassment by filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, the #MeToo international movement started on social media with women sharing their own personal stories of sexual harassment and assault.

The goal of the movement is to give weight to sexual assault and to show just how vast the issue is.

“If you see something, do something,” Wheatley said. “Don’t just walk by.”

Madisyn Forst, a senior studying health promotion and health education, is involved with Recovery Rising as its intern coordinator.

“We’re a huge campus, and domestic violence happens all the time, everywhere,” Forst said.

Students are working together to educate students on campus about domestic violence and what students can do to actively prevent the issue.

“I think we have become a lot more advanced in our social media promotion (and) outreach collaborations, just really trying to unify everyone so we have a bigger impact,” Forst said.

Julie Alvarez, a junior studying biochemistry, is the president of Team One Love, the only club on campus specific to domestic violence awareness, she said.

“The more people see signs and on social media, they get more interested,” Alvarez said. “Or, in hearing other students talk about going to either yoga or a personal event. That’s what triggers people in general to be more aware of the situation. We’re trying to get more awareness.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @emmasounart on Twitter.

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