In the wake of last Saturday’s shooting in Vivacqua Hall, students and professors alike expressed concerns about abusive relationships and the safety of Temple’s campus.
With 20-year-old Cori Miller quickly healing from gunshot wounds to her eye and chest at Hahnemann University Hospital, many in the Temple community have begun to question why 21-year-old Shawn Walker tried to end one life and then his own.
Many students were initially confused as to the cause of the Feb. 1 shooting.
Some are now beginning to feel safer.
Brianna Pastor, a sophomore and student employee at the Independence Blue Cross Student Recreation Center, said that she did feel apprehensive about walking to work the day after the shooting.
She now views the incident as “something that really could not have been immediately prevented.”
“You really can’t stop a person filled with that much rage,”said sophomore Nita Blum.
Sara Piersimoni felt an increased police presence, especially in “dark areas where violence could happen”would help to stop acts such as shooting from occurring.
Some students’ believe that an enhanced security presence and devices such as security cameras and metal detectors would solve the problem.
Others felt security was not the central issue.
“There are Temple Police everywhere; Temple is the second largest precinct to the Philadelphia Police, and I think we forget that,”said junior Tim Nelson.
Dr. Patricia Melzer, Acting Co-Director of the Women’s Studies Program, felt the solution should not be with “policing the perpetrator, but with sufficiently assisting the victim which is, most of the time, a woman.”
Dr. Joyce Joyce, also of the Women’s Studies Program, and Michael Hanowitz, Assistant Coordinator of the Sexual Assault Counseling and Education program at Tuttleman Counseling Services, suggest that an understanding of gendered violence as well as educational programs could stop future outbreaks of violence against women.
“Men historically physically abuse, and in some cases, attempt to fatally punish women, because they have a fear of intellectually discussing and expressing their emotions otherwise'”said Joyce.
“Women typically internalize violence and do not act out physically.”
“Men have a differential power and are typically the perpetrators of violence, as 95 percent of women are the victims of abuse. Although he [Walker] was diagnosed with manic depression, a large contributing factor was the politics of what it means to be a man in society,”he said.
Because of the difference in the masculine and feminine reaction to emotionally charged situations, education is vital for healthy relationships, said Joyce.
“There are no safe spaces; we need to train men and women to understand the real root of their anger,”she said.
“Emotional and intellectual dialogue between men and women, as encouraged in women’s studies classrooms, is needed.”
Hanowitz pointed out that the SACE program offers counseling as well as events at which interested students may obtain information.
Students feel that these options are beneficial, but not the only answer.
“I really think that aside from SACE and gender studies courses, there needs to be a safe place, such as a women’s center, for women to go after a fight with a partner, or being harassed or assaulted,”said Michelle Lamancusa, a psychology major.
She said that a woman’s center, “providing a 24-hour safe space,
is needed to meet the needs of a growing residential campus.”
Katie Bashore can be reached at email@example.com