For many, October is fondly viewed as the month of Halloween and the highlight of the fall season. However, many may not know that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This week, University News was able to speak with Kacie Otto from the Violence Prevention Program at UMKC about what UMKC does to combat domestic violence and spread awareness about the issue. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states that nearly 20 people per minute are abused by their intimate partner. Additionally, one in three women and one in four men have been a victim of some sort of domestic violence by an intimate partner. Locally, there were 40,645 incidents of domestic violence reported in Missouri alone. “The Violence Prevention Program was initiated to combat these statistics on the UMKC campus,” said Otto. “We offer direct support services for students facing sexual assault, domestic or dating violence and stalking. So, if a student is facing one of these things, they can reach out to us for help in getting a restraining order, moving to a safe space, talking with professors about changing a test date if needed.” These kinds of services are crucial because many UMKC students experience some form of domestic violence. Unfortunately, many choose not to come forward. To get their name and message out, the program utilizes Facebook and other forms of social media. They also have a UMKC webpage and post event fliers on campus and message boards. Otto also mentioned another program called Green Dot, which teaches students about bystander intervention. Otto said the program uses Twitter and Instagram to spread awareness about Green Dot. In the month of October, the Violence Prevention Program hosts several events to get the word out about domestic violence on campus. “In October, we put on Red Flag Day-to teach students how to recognize warning signs of an abusive relationship. We also host the Clothesline Project every year. You can check out all of our events on our website,” said Otto, adding that the group regularly posts pictures of events on their Facebook page. The Violence Prevention Program will be hosting White Ribbon Day with the Women’s Center next Wednesday. “Students can make journey charms out of shrink art to show their commitment to ending violence as well as pick up a white ribbon to wear through the day that shows others their commitment to never stay silent about domestic violence,” said Otto. While October is a prominent month for the program, they continue to put on events all year. The Green Dot Overviews, The Vagina Monologues, Take Back the Night, and Walk a Mile in her Shoes are some of their bigger events. They also put on several events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. Otto recommends checking out their Facebook page for more information on events. To get involved with the program, email Kacie Otto at firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer opportunities. Students can also get involved by having groups they participate in partner with the Violence Prevention Program.