Temple hosts domestic violence awareness panel

On Sunday, Temple hosted a collaborative and informational panel on domestic violence, which aimed to educate and help students across all demographics.

A row of speakers during Klein’s collaborative domestic violence awareness forum at Annenberg Hall Oct 15.| EAMON HOYE / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Trigger Warning: This article contains mention of domestic violence and abuse. If you find the content disturbing, please seek help at Tuttleman Counseling Services or click here to find resources regarding domestic violence.

Julia Press Simmons wrote “Strawberry Mansion: A Philadelphia Story” based on her own experiences as a survivor of domestic violence from her teenage to young adult years. She wanted to highlight how taking back her power from her abuser through writing has helped her heal. 

“Once you decide that you don’t have to be treated that way anymore, take back your power, that’s what I did and that’s what I continue to do,” Simmons said. 

Simmons was a speaker in the domestic violence awareness forum on Main Campus during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This was the first time Klein College of Media and Communication hosted and facilitated the event in collaboration with the ROSEBUDS Mentoring Program, a North Philadelphia non-profit youth mentorship organization, in the Annenberg Hall Atrium on Oct 15.

Emily Hildenbrand, a freshman journalism major, found Simmons’ story the most moving of the panel.

“The most impactful was Julia Press Simmons,” Hildenbrand said. “Her telling her story was so profound, the whole room was silent.” 

The event also featured speakers like Pamela Henshall, the executive director of Women in Transition, an organization offering victims of domestic violence support, Zaakiya Graham, board member of ROSEBUDS and Charlotte Marshall, the executive director of ROSEBUDS. 

Audience members and participants were given purple ribbon pins upon entering to honor survivors during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The month is observed in the United States for the entirety of October. The primary goal is to raise public awareness about domestic violence-related issues, including its prevalence, its impact on individuals and families and the resources available for prevention, support and intervention.

Klein’s event aimed to raise awareness about the warning signs of domestic violence and how to obtain legal help for someone who may be experiencing domestic violence. The panel began with Henshall, who discussed the warning signs of domestic violence and how to receive and refer help. 

“Economics is a large reason why people stay in domestic violence situations and then it can escalate to stalking and technology, there are apps that they can put on your phone, [an abuser] can track you,” Henshall said.

Henshall presented a video from the campaign #ThatsNotLove, highlighting warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, from One Love Foundation, an organization raising awareness about domestic violence and unhealthy relationships in teens. 

Domestic violence comes in many different forms, like emotional, physical, mental and financial, all going unnoticed because someone may be exclusively looking for warning signs of physical abuse, said Rochelle Davis, organizer of the event and executive assistant to Klein’s dean. 

Davis came up with the idea for the panel, after talking with her long-time high school best friend, Marshall. 

“We’ve always collaborated on various projects or business ventures that we found interesting,” Davis said. “So we decided that since she mentors young women and she’s transitioning to young men and I’m here on campus with young college students, we figured partnering together would be a great opportunity for both of us.”

The forum also looked to address the stigma of domestic abuse, as many people may associate it with older white women.

Compared to other demographics, Black women and men experience domestic violence at a higher rate. Roughly 45 percent of Black women and 40.1 percent of Black men have experienced domestic violence, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. 

During Graham’s presentation, she read aloud statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, like 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe domestic violence, and only 34 percent of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.

Davis brought the event to Temple’s campus hoping students would learn tools to address the warning signs of domestic violence to help themselves or others. During her closing remarks, Davis also highlighted ROSEBUDS’ advocacy for younger children who could be witnesses to domestic violence in their households. 

“It’s really important for us as a university to spread this information to all of the college students that are here,” Davis said. “There are a lot of domestic violence situations on campus and in dorms, we have freshmen coming in and I’m sure they’re being watched by hawks for the picking.”

About 1 in 3 college women say they’ve experienced abuse in an intimate relationship, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. 

After closing remarks by Marshall and Davis, the panel concluded with Marshall’s emotional and uplifting reading of the poem “I Carry It With Me” from the poetry collection “The Touch of 10,000 Words” by Christine Evangelou.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

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