OVP hosts domestic violence tabling to raise awareness

The Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) hosted their yearly tabling, Her Story Her Strength, on March 13. Set up in the Fishbowl, students were able to pass by the table and learn information about domestic violence and abuse.

The tabling lasted for an hour, allowing students to ask questions and learn valuable information that is otherwise not available or shared. This tabling is the opening to Sexual Assault Awareness Month where events are hosted throughout the month to showcase the ever-growing issue of sexual assault.

Students were encouraged to grab buttons, pins, post-it notes and pamphlets from the table to provide extra information on sexual assault and domestic abuse. Pamphlets and pins shared what domestic abuse may look like with students and gave them guidance on how to get out of the situation.

Domestic abuse is an issue that is not normally talked about and affects more women than most realize. Twenty four people per minute are affected by domestic violence and are mostly victims of rape, physical violence and stalking by their own partner. In just the course of a year, more than 12 million men and women are affected by this.

One story in particular that the tabling covered is that of Tracy Thurman. Thurman is one of the many women who were ignored by the justice system when she cried out for help for her domestic violence situation.

In 1982, Thurman filed for divorce and left her abusive husband, Charles. For several months, Charles harassed and threatened to kill her and her son. The police took no action against this, pushing Charles to take action against Thurman breaking his restraining order. The cops took 25 minutes to respond to a 911 call made by Thurman on her husband, ending up with her in the hospital after being stabbed and attacked by him.

Thurman took action against the state after her husband was sentenced to spend less than eight years in prison. She sued the city and its police department, and she won the lawsuit as well as $2 million. The Thurman v. The City of Torrington case was widely known and inspired national reform that included the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, otherwise known as “Thurman’s Law.”

Thurman’s story is now widely known and discussed, but there is still silence on this issue. OVP is determined to make these stories heard and ensure students who may be dealing with this have an outlet available on campus.

One of the students running the table, Lex Ruhlen, is a violence intervention peer for OVP. Ruhlen is a victim of domestic violence, which occurred last year here on campus. She views this table as an important way to spread information about domestic violence on campus.

“I feel very strongly about this and I want to make it a more open and interactive conversation and shed light on it being more prevalent than it seems,” she said.

Students who walked by were also prompted to write encouraging words to survivors or to those experiencing domestic violence. Phrases and words were written on a poster to be hung up outside of the OVP office, to inspire those who are affected to seek help and to know they are not alone. 

“It is amazing that I am able to use what happened to me to help others that might be going through what I did and turn it into a good thing,” Ruhlen said.

This tabling is one of many that OVP does throughout the year. This is one that they find most important for the Ramapo community. It provides guidance to those who may be struggling and provides encouragement to break free of their situation.

“I think it is important to raise awareness here on campus about issues like this,” OVP Student Office Manager Sam Viola said. “People don’t realize how prevalent it still is and bringing awareness through a tabling is an easy way to reach people.”




Featured photo by Rebecca Bleich