Gatepost Editorial: Make domestic violence prevention a priority

An FSU student was recently arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in his dorm room.

According to FSUPD’s annual campus crime report released last semester, criminal offenses at FSU have increased from 2010 to 2012. Incidences of aggravated assault at Framingham State have risen over the last three years. In 2011, there was one reported offense and in 2012, there were two.

While domestic violence incidents at FSU are rare, at least those which are reported, we at The Gatepost want to take this opportunity to discuss what can be done to reduce any form of domestic violence in our close-knit community and the help those who have experienced it can receive.

This past Thursday, March 6, male FSU community members were asked to participate in Massachusetts’ White Ribbon Day by pledging, “From this day forward, I promise to be part of the solution in ending violence against women.” FSU LiveSafe, Veterans Services and Wellness Education sponsored the event.

According to the group’s website, the White Ribbon Campaign was established in 1991 in Canada by a group of men on the second anniversary of one man’s massacre of 14 women in Montreal “to urge men to speak out against violence against women.”

While we at The Gatepost think it’s commendable that Framingham State hosted an event which makes students more aware of violence against women and allows men to pledge to end it, we think FSU needs to be doing more to educate all students about gender violence – not just men.

At the event’s table, spokespeople distributed the flyer “10 things men can do to prevent gender violence” – which, apparently, has a 1999 copyright. We think it would have been more effective for the event’s sponsors to use this handout as a foundation for creating educational programs – number eight on the list suggests students attend educational programs or classes about violence against women. We think this issue deserves more attention than just a simple signature on a piece of paper.

For example, the school should hold workshops about how to prevent violence, and host influential and knowledgeable speakers to inform students about this important issue.

We would like to see students of all genders come together in support of ending violence. According to CollegiateLink, the Gender Equality Health Awareness Committee (GHAC), formally the Women’s Empowerment club, no longer exists. This club used to host events such as the “Take Back the Night” rallies, which promote the end of violence against women.

We at The Gatepost would like to see more of these events in our community, and we would like to see more initiative from groups which should be promoting them on campus, such as LiveSafe.

It is worth noting that the first initiative LiveSafe has co-sponsored was a state-wide event. We want LiveSafe to make more of an effort to create its own on-campus events, such as programs which educate students about violence against all genders – not just women.

We would also like to see more student initiative, through either reinstating GHAC, or creating a similar club to promote events such as “Take Back the Night” rallies.

We encourage students who have experienced domestic or other kinds of violence to seek professional help on campus at the Health and Wellness Center.

We at The Gatepost think one violent act is one too many. Our community, overall, is a safe place. But we think students, especially, can make FSU even safer by being more proactive about learning about and preventing violence.

We at The Gatepost witness community members supporting one another in many different situations – this issue should be no different. We come together during times of tragedy, and it is important to also come together, take action and make change when faced with a serious problem such as domestic violence.

 

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