In recent weeks, the domestic violence controversies in the NFL have rocked the nation. While the cases of professional athletes and high-profile celebrities receive national attention, student groups at Sam Houston State University are coming together to raise awareness on the issue.
Women United and National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternity Phi Beta Sigma are kicking off their month-long campaign for Domestic Abuse Awareness Month.
Shanice Jones, junior mass communication major and vice president of Women United, said that one of her group’s mission during this campaign is to highlight the different perceptions between domestic violence cases involving celebrities versus average people.
“We have a program called ‘Real Men Don’t Hit’ with Phi Beta Sigma,” Jones said. “It’s basically going to be about the differences between people who are high-profile celebrities and people who are not and how they get treated differently, how people still support [celebrities], how people still buy their music and go to their concerts.”
Nieesha Birdine, junior mass communication major and social chair of Women United, echoed Jones’ thoughts on the perception of domestic violence.
“In the common world, where it’s not celebrities and people we see everyday on the news on the news, [domestic violence] is bad,” Birdine said. “We take light of when it comes to celebrities and other people of importance, because we recognize their name and we really enjoy whatever they do to make us happy. When it comes to regular folks among us it’s a big deal, but when it comes to celebrities it’s brushed off and that’s really sad.”
Jones said that for people who are not celebrities, domestic violence is seen differently.
“Say, for instance, your sister has a boyfriend who was in a domestic violence situation with her,” Jones said. “People will look down on him and they’ll call him names and don’t want anything to do with him.”
Jones stated that October is normally recognized as breast cancer awareness month, leaving domestic violence awareness overshadowed. However, she believes that both are equally important since peoples’ lives are at stake.
Senior criminal justice major and Women United secretary Lykendrea Mims said she wants to educate students on how they can end domestic violence.
“It’s to put awareness out to women and to men, because statistically it is men who commit more of these crimes,” said Mims. “For that, we have to have the men realize that they can step in and stop this. It’s our generation that can actually stop it.”
Birdine hopes that promoting awareness for domestic violence will help victims in the SHSU and Huntsville communities.
“In college, there are domestic violence cases going on that we don’t know anything about.” “Hopefully, [Domestic Violence Awareness Month] will allow victims who are going through it to step up, step out and say this is happening to me.”
The organizations will be selling t-shirts as a fundraiser to benefit the SAAFE House, an organization that helps individuals and families affected by family violence and sexual abuse. Shirts are $12 and can be purchased at any Women United meeting, held Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center room 304.
For more information on Women United and their domestic abuse awareness campaign, contact Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.