Every day domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive approximately 20,800 calls, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Each semester, the Plattsburgh State Health Peer Educators come together to host an event called #RelationshipGoals. There was free pizza and drinks, free condoms and free insight on relationships from a married couple.
PSUC Health Educator and Outreach Coordinator and host of the event Rhema Lewis said she wanted to inform PSUC students about the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships. She said there were three goals to reach during the #RelationshipGoals event.
“We want to teach students how to spot potential harmful things,” Lewis said. “We want them to know how to maintain healthy relationships and how to help someone who is in an unhealthy relationship.”
Lewis said the event is called “#Relationship Goals” because hashtags are a trend on a variety of social media outlets to spread messages, and she said the team believes students connect with it.
PSUC physics major and sophomore Damaris Martinez said she looked forward to finding out how to have better relationships, especially since she is a community advocate in Whiteface Hall.
“I definitely want to be able to take this information and help my residents, whether it could be a relationship with a significant other or adjusting to college, or a long distance relationship,” Martinez said. During the event, married couple Q Battle and Danette Battle, from the New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Plattsburgh, came in to speak to PSUC students about healthy relationships.
To begin the workshop, the pair distributed postcards for participants to describe a healthy relationship in a word or two. Trust, friendship, honesty, love and communication were the most commonly written.
Lynette then openly spoke about her daughter’s abusive relationship.
“She has been in a domestic violent relationship for a year, and we did not know it,” she said.
Together, they explained the challenges of demonstrating the love they believe their daughter should have.
“Do you know how hard it was for me to let my child go back to somebody who was hurting her?” Danette said.
She said there was nothing she could do to change her daughter’s mind. Now, her daughter resides with her son and has ended her abusive relationship.
Lewis stepped in during the event to inform the audience about the recent incident at SUNY Geneseo, where a man killed his former girlfriend and her new partner, before committing suicide.
“This is not the first SUNY school to experience that,” Lewis said. “In SUNY Brockport, a young woman was killed by her partner, and I think it’s time that we truly address that this is happening on college campuses.”
In the United States every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten, and one in five women and one in seven men have been severely physically abused by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“When you’re young, it’s hard to differentiate,” Lewis said. “There’s a difference about respecting each other’s boundaries in a relationship and feeling like you’re being controlled.”
After the #RelationshipGoals event, PSUC nursing major and senior Kelly Martin said she enjoyed attending.
“Mr. and Mrs. Battle have never been here, and I liked the vibe,” Martin said. “They were very engaging, and a lot of people were involved, and it got more down to a personal level because you got to see what a healthy relationship is like.”
Danette said she appreciates when she spends time with young people and teaching them because that is what she wished someone had done for her.
After the event, students were encouraged to take more handouts created by Planned Parenthood and a guide on the seven principles of great relationships.
The couple said they were glad to come in and talk to about their happy marriage with PSUC students.
Email Ashley Jovine at firstname.lastname@example.org