By Channing Prins
Domestic violence is more prominent than people think.
“One in four women and one in nine men will experience some form of domestic violence sometime in their life,” Kelsey Harland, a senior majoring in social work and an intern at the Title IX Office at SUNY Plattsburgh, said.
The Title IX office has been hosting events all month to help bring light to a bigger situation. This year in particular is very important. COVID-19 has worsened domestic violence.
“We have seen, especially across the nation, COVID has just impacted those who are experiencing domestic violence at a higher rate than most things. Hotlines have increased use because in a lot of ways you are isolated,” Zyajiah Nadler, violence prevention, education, and outreach coordinator for the Title IX office said. “In the four months we were on lockdown, many people were isolated with people who may have been harming them, whether it be physically, sexually or emotionally.”
The office has hosted many events during the month of October over the years, but with the pandemic, they have had to come up with creative ways to bring awareness to domestic violence. A user-friendly activity calendar is available on the office’s Facebook and Instagram page for people to pick which activity or event they’d like to register for.
“We create a calendar that just has actionable items that people can do every single day because we know people are remote and people are just in different stages of availability as well,” Nadler said.
In addition, the Title IX office asked that the main entrance of Hawkins Hall be illuminated with purple lights for the whole month of October to support the cause.
Another event it held was a workshop that Harland hosted to speak about important topics in relation to domestic violence. Other events included “Is My Relationship Healthy,” where the group went over the 10 signs of a healthy or unhealthy relationship according to The One Look Foundation.
“Oftentimes, we don’t know how to identify it,” Nadler said. “We may question ourselves a lot especially when it comes to emotional values, gaslighting and just all things power and control really. It’s very important to know how to identify.”
Harland also spoke about other things during this event, such as the difference between domestic violence and dating violence.
“Domestic violence is when two individuals have a child together and/or live in the same household,” Harland said. “[Dating] violence is anyone you have a remote prenamic partner, like a relationship with.”
Student involvement is at an all time low right now with events being mainly online due to COVID-19. Nadler said their turnouts have been fluctuating.
“For some of our events, we have had 23 people. [In] the one with Kelsey, we had 12 people,” Nadler said. “[We] had some with three. We’re still trying to figure out what is the best time. Getting people to come out when they are so incredibly tired of Zoom can be difficult.”
Not only is it difficult getting students to attend events, it’s also hard to bring awareness to something if no one shows up.
“I feel like if it was in person more people would have showed up,” Harland said. “But since it’s on Zoom, not everyone wants to go to an event on Zoom, which I totally understand.”
For the rest of domestic violence awareness month, a full list of the office’s events can be found on social media, including a Netflix screening, a talent show and workshops like “How to Shoot Your Shoot Consensually” and “Violence in Communities of Color.”
However, there are other ways for students to get involved that don’t involve online activities. Internship applications for the Title IX office are still open and accessible on the SUNY Plattsburgh Title IX website, and the deadline is Nov. 6.
“Anyone can be an intern if your application is accepted and the interview goes well. Students should definitely be more involved with Title IX,” Harland said. “It’s a great place for resources if you experience violence.”