On Thursday, March 10, Ramapo Pride and the Women’s Center co-sponsored “Abuse Awareness Information and Resources for Intimate Partner Violence.” This event welcomed all students to walk in and gain more knowledge about abuse awareness and what someone could do to potentially help an individual struggling with abusive situations.
Bergen County’s YWCA healingSPACE contributed to the event by setting up pamphlets that covered a wide variety of topics such as “9 Signs of a Healthy Relationship,” “Dating and Violence” and “Intimate Partner Violence.” Bergen County’s healingSPACE is a welcoming place for survivors of domestic violence to feel safe. They provide 24/7 crisis intervention hotlines and trained advocates who counsel and give legal and medical accompaniments to survivors.
To make “Abuse Awareness” relatable on a larger scale, junior Jamie Prizer, president of Ramapo Pride, made sure to include all different approaches to help people who are stuck in an unhealthy relationship, whether that is comforting a parent, a friend, a college roommate or a co-worker. Prizer, along with several club members, presented handouts that emphasized the frightening statistics regarding college students involved in abusive relationships. According to statistics, nearly one-third of college students report having physically assaulted a dating partner in the previous 12 months, and as many as one-quarter of female students experience sexual assault over the course of their college career.
“We wanted to go at the topic from an intersectional feminist perspective because we want it to be all-inclusive of everyone. There are different statistics and different facts about different groups of people so we have information about people of different cultures, religions, ethnicities, LGBT communities and different gender identities. We have information on college campuses. We tried to include everything we could think of to make sure that all different types of groups were represented. I think that there’s information that literally everybody could use,” said Prizer.
During the event, members of Ramapo Pride and the Women’s Center touched on the subject of how to intervene in situations such as abusive relationships. They discussed how most of the time people want to help, but they do not know how to necessarily go about it. A question that was brought up frequently was “What can I do?”
Furthermore, students were able to leave this event with a better understanding on how to aid someone in an abusive relationship. Some of the most effective ways are to tell them you’re concerned for their safety, be supportive and respectful of their decisions, connect them to helpful resources and listen patiently.
“Different people go through different situations, so I would just tell them that it's not their fault and there are so many people out there who support them whether they know it or not. If they want to seek help there are a lot of resources – they could talk to a counselor at school, or they can go online – but they have tons of support,” said Prizer.