How Aware Are We of Domestic Violence?

   October is here once again, which means it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. But how aware are we that domestic violence is happening?

   Christopher Mejia, a senior in the Mellon Transfer Student Research Program (MTSRP), said, “I’m aware that it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month now that you told me.”

   Ashley Augustin, another senior here at BC, and Dominick Braswell, a Class of 2018 graduate and MTSRP administrator, had the same response.

   Christina Weinbaum, another Class of 2018 graduate, said, “Of course I’m aware that it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” 

   None of them or their loved ones or friends have had any recent experiences with domestic violence, but Weinbaum said, “I’ve had friends who were affected by domestic violence.” 

   The CUNY Sexual Misconduct Policy, which is included in the Security Report for this year, defines domestic violence as violence or sexual assault that is committed by: a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, a person who the victim shares a child with, an intimate partner or spouse who lived with the victim, or anyone else “who is covered by applicable laws of domestic violence. It can be a single act or a pattern of behavior, based on the frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct.”

   The policy also states that along with dating and intimate partner violence, domestic violence is categorized under the umbrella term “sexual violence” which also includes: “sexual activity without affirmative consent, sexual assault, rape/attempted rape, and forcible touching/fondling; stalking/cyberstalking, and voyeurism.” 

   The Brooklyn College Women’s Center is a place on campus that offers students lots of assistance, running a variety of programs. Located at 227 Ingersoll Hall Extension, the center is home to the Returning Women’s Cafe, the Alice Miller Computer Lounge,  a drop-in lounge and resource lounge. It also offers crisis intervention and advocacy services to students on academic and non-academic issues.

   On September 24, the center hosted “My Body, My Rights,” a workshop that offered legal advice for students who have been victims of sexual assault. It was led by Jessica Morack, a staff attorney with the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services.

   According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) infographic Facts Everyone Should Know about Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence and Stalking, “one in four women and one in nine men were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner with a negative impact such as injury, fear, concern for safety, needing services.”  

   For those of you who have had recent experiences of domestic violence, you may be nervous to share your stories, and that’s okay. But just know that there are places you can reach out to on campus. Other than physically going to the Women’s Center, you can also call them at 718-951-5777. You can also call the office of Campus and Community Safety Services at 718-951-5511, the office of Personal Counseling at 718-951-5363, or the office of Student Affairs at 718-951-5352.

   There are also multiple resources off-campus in Brooklyn, as well as Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. In Brooklyn, these include New York Women Against Rape (212-777-4000); the Legal Services Department for the Special Victims Bureau (718-575-4447); and People Against Sexual Abuse, located at 1012 Eighth Avenue, an organization that aids those who have been sexually abused, and conducts workshops on risk reduction for adults and youth (718-834-9467).

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