In a recent UMKC climate survey, several students indicated that they had experienced dating or intimate partner violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 21% of college students report having experienced dating violence by a current partner. 32% experienced dating violence by a pervious partner.
The Women’s Center and the UMKC Violence Prevention & Response Program set up a socially engaging art project last Wednesday afternoon in Miller Nichols Library to raise awareness about domestic violence. The event gave students the opportunity to create a small piece of artwork that can go a long way in helping to end violence.
“This is the ‘I Can, We Can Day of Action’ and we’re commemorating that today because it’s Domestic Violence Awareness month, so we’re having students draw on a hand, shrink art, that shows their ‘I can’, or what they can do to stop domestic violence or help survivors,” said Kacie Otto, Violence Prevention Coordinator.
This engaging activity helped students connect and expand the campus community to create a united front against domestic violence. Each hand represented a supporter of victims and to help end the fight against violence.
“Domestic violence is affecting our students,” Otto said, “you might not know who, but we want our students to know that there’s a safe place for them to come and express themselves through art and take that with them so that they feel supported by their campus, and it’s also a way for friends to show that they care.”
UMKC’s Violence Prevention and Response Program and The Women’s Center teamed up on this event to cover more ground in raising awareness on campus to gain support for victims of domestic violence.
“In terms of this particular program, it kind of arose from the Her Art Program which is something brought on from the Women’s Center that focuses on art,” said Mirella Flores, the graduate assistant for the Women’s Center. “One of the things that they do is combine that with healing arts, which goes along the lines of working with survivors of sexual and domestic assault.”
Domestic violence victims face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks and other emotional distress.
“The ‘I Can, We Can Day of Action’ is something that’s nationally going to bring awareness to what people can do to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” Flores said.
The Women’s Center and the Violence Prevention & Response Program provide several resources and programs for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse you can call the Domestic Violence Network Hotline number at 816-995-1000.