Domestic Violence Awareness Month kicked off as Temple students joined together to “Pledge Against Violence” Monday, October 9 outside of the Paley Library between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
This was the first year the pledge took place at Temple and was sponsored by the Sexual Assault Counseling and Education program (SACE).
The pledge is divided into two parts: one for men and one for women. The pledge for men states that they will not support domestic violence in any relationship they are in.
The pledge for women indicates that a woman will not allow herself to continue a relationship in which she is a victim of violence.
The Pledge was coordinated to take place at the same time as the Clothesline Project’s T-shirt Display, which is an exhibit of artwork done by assault victims to express their emotions.
Student response to the pledge was slow to gain momentum, but the effort did attract students throughout the day who stopped to see the display.
Individuals reacted in different ways when they approached the table with the reading and hanging testimonies to survival of violence and the appeal to act against it.
Pamela Freeman, Coordinator of SACE, said it is a touchy subject that might make some people feel uncomfortable.
“People are coming by slowly. They tend to avoid this because of the emotions that are brought up,” Freeman said.
A relatively equal number of men and women signed the pledge. People were most reluctant to sign the pledge during the period between classes.
“If you’re not against violence, you support it!” Michael Hanowitz, Assistant SACE Coordinator said.
The Pledge presentation was organized by Olivia Porpst, first year graduate assistant at SACE.
“I would like to see the Pledge become a teaching tool,” Porpst said. “Too often people take part in violence without knowing it.”
SACE will continue its Pledge drive through the month of October at all of its information tables.
SACE introduces itself to students during a two-hour long presentation at freshman.
orientation. For many students, violence and sexual abuse are topics presented for the first time at college. SACE attempts to increase awareness of non-married sexual and non-sexual violence.
National statistics on relationship violence state that sexual and non-sexual violence histories most often begin between the ages of 14 and 15.
“It’s important that people be aware of the resources they can go to.” said Cori Miller, a freshman at Temple.
Miller suggested that SACE should do events such as the pledge drive more often to reach students who might not be on campus that day.
The pledge is part of a resource packet distributed by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It was developed by the National Domestic Violence Committee this year.