CCU students, leaders spread domestic, dating and sexual violence awareness

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CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Students and University leaders are spreading awareness about dating, sexual and domestic violence this week at Coastal Carolina University.

According to a release, the goal of this week is to, “break the stigma of discussing the sensitive topic of interpersonal violence, and showing support and building community empathy toward survivors of interpersonal violence.”

The University’s LiveWell office hosted several events to spread awareness, like the “Clothesline Project,” a nationwide initiative that started in the 1990s.

“Survivors of violence often experience struggles with emotional health because they’ve been through a trauma, so we’re sending messages out to support those survivors,” said Chris Donevant-Haines, associate director of the LiveWell office.

The Clothesline Project invites students to decorate t-shirts with messages of support, solidarity or their story and display them on a clothesline on campus. Donevant-Haines said the sight “can be very empowering to survivors.”

Senior volunteers and coordinators of the event, Jasmine Sampson and Rita Rose agree.

“Prevention is a big thing and making sure these things don’t happen and trying to make sure students have a safe space is something I’m really passionate about,” Sampson said.

This is Donevant-Haines’ 16th year working at CCU. She says during her time here students have become more willing to seek help.

“The stigma, although it still exists when talking about these difficult topics, is students are more willing to reach out for help if they see something occurring with a friend, loved one, roommate, classmate.”

For students experiencing an abusive relationship, Donevant-Haines said she wants students to know they have on-campus options.

“Our Dean of Students has intervention services available, we have our Department of Public Safety, which includes an anonymous tips line, we have confidential services available with counseling services and our student health services as well.”

In 2019, there were seven reports of dating violence. That was down to three reports in 2020. In 2019, there were 10 reports of forcible sex offenses. That figure rose to 14 in 2020. As for stalking reports, there were four in 2019 and three in 2020.

Next Wednesday, October 13, at 7 p.m. in the Lib Jackson Student Union, Women’s and Gender Studies is screening ‘The Hunting Ground’ documentary. Admission is free.

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