Beyond Halloween and leaves changing color, October symbolizes a beacon of hope and support for domestic violence survivors, as October is domestic violence awareness month.
Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m, University Green was filled with education on domestic violence, dating information on campus and community resources. It was also filled with pumpkins.
Ball State’s Counseling Center and Center for Survivor Support (CSS) came together, creating this event called “Smash Domestic Violence” to recognize and provide awareness for domestic violence. Both centers utilize domestic violence awareness month to provide Ball State’s campus with prevention techniques and information regarding community impact.
Anna McGee, CSS victim advocate, and Justin Howard-Davidson, Counseling Center staff psychologist, both took part in advocating for a cause they believe falls on many deaf ears.
“I think in general, survivors' voices aren’t always heard because of societal standards and norms,” McGee said. “So what we’re trying to do is make sure every survivor is heard.”
“Smash Domestic Violence” incorporated pumpkins not just because of the convenient seasonal timing, but also to release adrenaline through smashing pumpkins and to provide attendees with an artifact to remember the event with.
“It’s sometimes nice to have an actual activity to do along with it, that’s why we don’t only have the pumpkins to be smashed,” Howard-Davidson said. “We also have pumpkins that can be painted, so that way people want to paint something that they can take with them.”
The pumpkin-filled event brought many students to University Green, including first-year graduate student and student affairs major Josh Knotts, who went to support their friend who invited them to “Smash Domestic Violence.” Even so, supporting victims of domestic violence was a cause more than significant enough to bring Knott to the event.
“You never know who’s going through it [domestic violence] in your life, and odds are you know somebody that is,” Knott said.
CCS and the Counseling Center continue fighting for unity against the threat of domestic violence, a cause both Howard-Davidson and McGee hope inspires the Ball State community.
“They say that one in six women experienced domestic violence in their lifetime,” McGee said. “We’re trying to raise awareness of how prominent it is in our community, and make survivors feel ok.”