While domestic violence can often go unseen and unheard, college students loudly voiced their efforts to help put an end to domestic abuse.
On Friday, October, 22, more than 50 students from Mercy College and other universities in the area held its Sixth Annual Walk With Me march and rally toraise awarness about the ongoing problem in the hopes that it will one day be stomped out completely. The event was sponsored by Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera.
“We believe it’s something important that happens to a lot of college students and sometimes they don’t have anyone to help them,” Angelie Badia, a sophomore at Mercy College, said. “We hope with this we’ll be able to push them to get help and to let them know that help is out there and they’re not the only ones suffering.”
Badia and dozens of other students worked to make posters and leaflets that were given out during the march. Others performed in several skits, and dozens more marched throughout the college campus.
The event has beenheld every year since 2005 in October, to honor domestic violence awareness month.
For Megan Santiago, raising awareness has impacted her personally after one friend was afraid to confront an abusive boyfriend.
“She was afraid to go to anybody about it,” the sophomore, who helped orgnize the event said. “But now she’s doing much better. She got rid of her boyfriend and he’s got a job now and she’ss relaly happy.”
Domestic violence is one of the biggest issues facing the Bronx and all cities across the state and country. Reports show that almost four million women are beaten in their homes every year by their partners, and according to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, one in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.
The abuse is not only physical, it is also done verbally with threats or put-downs, or by depriving the victim of money and discouraging them from keeping a job. Isolating the victim, so they have limited contact with their friends or families, is also a form of abuse.
According to the US Department of Justice, while 95 percent of reported spousal assaults are committed by men against women, assaults against men occur in about five to 10 percent of the reported domestic violence incidents. Domestic abuse is also just as likely to occur in homosexual relationships as in heterosexual relationships, reports show.
“I want to engage the youth in our struggle if we are ever going to see change,” Councilwoman Rivera said. “Ending this cycle of abuse has to start with the youth.”
The march was part of a statewide initiative that included 30 schools marching, rallying and calling for a stop to the violence.
While in the past Mercy has hosted the walk as a one-day event, this year the college along with Fordham Univeristy, Lehman College and others extended the awareness outreach to a week-long event, consisting of marches and meetings.
“You have the reposonsibility to take this with you,” Rivera said. “We hold this walk once a year, but this message resonated throughout the year and that’s what we want.”