On Oct. 13, Sam Houston’s Department of Victim Studies organized a sign making event in solidarity for those who are survivors of domestic abuse. The event took place during what is considered Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and was located in George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center’s flag room between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
The event was composed of students, teachers, as well as the non-profit organization Sexual Assault & Abuse Free Environment better known as SAAFE HOUSE.
“We are making signs today to show survivors of domestic violence that we support them, believe them and care about them.” chair of the Department of Victim Studies Dr. Shelly Clevenger said.
The posters made were decorated with bright colors and messages of hope and perseverance to stand out at the upcoming demonstration. Many posters displayed the symbol of Domestic Violence Awareness Month – being the purple ribbon.
“My poster reads ‘your voice matters,’” sophomore criminal justice major Morgan Hansen said. “A lot of men and women who have been in these abusive relationships don’t feel like their voice is going to be heard, and that is why I feel a lot of people need to hear this message.”
The purpose of the fair is intended to go beyond the outreach of campus grounds, but also to the Walker County community to spread the message of the dangers of domestic violence and that no one is alone.
“We are having an event on Oct. 21 at the Walker County courthouse, and so we will hold these signs up while we are there,” Clevenger stated. “Whether it’s survivors, people walking or driving by, they’ll know we stand with survivors of domestic violence.”
With many victims of this abuse, it is normal for survivors to feel alone, or even ashamed to talk about their situations. For this event, tables were surrounding the room with snacks, colors and posters for people attending in order to promote a sense of safety and openness.
“Domestic violence is an area of research of mine, so I’ve interviewed a lot of different survivors and know many personally,” Clevenger explained. “Doing these sorts of events is a way for people to know that we’re with them. I think sometimes survivors of domestic violence feel alone and isolated, and so events like today is to tell people they are not alone.”
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are abused physically by an intimate partner in the United States on any given day, According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. With the numbers rising, these victims have a higher rate of depression and suicidal thoughts, which is why this affair is intended to spread awareness to the community.
With the recognition for those facing domestic abuse, students recognize the importance of standing and supporting those who might not be able to do so for themselves.
“I have Dr. Clevenger as my professor for victimology and being in her class, I have grown such a bigger appreciation and awareness of domestic violence, and how crucial it is to be an ally of those people who have gone through it,” Hansen said. “Being in her class and talking about this topic made it something important for me to come to and show support for.”
The survivor solidarity demonstration will take place in front of the Walker County courthouse on Thursday Oct. 21 from 4-6 p.m. with the posters made being present at the event. The courthouse is located 1100 University Ave, Huntsville, TX 77340.
SAAFE HOUSE information:
Located at 1426 Sam Houston Ave. Huntsville, TX 77349
Crisis intervention and advocacy available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.