They say that you can only understand another’s hardships if you walk a mile in his or her shoes.
When you make your way around Gannon University during the month of October, take a moment to walk alongside the purple footprints scattered around campus and consider what they mean to men and women who have been victimized by domestic and sexual violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Gannon will be partnering with SafeNet, an organization that provides services to aid individuals who are victimized by dating or domestic violence.
The purple footprints that can be found on the various walkways around campus represent SafeNet’s “Take Steps To End Dating/Domestic Violence” campaign.
SafeNet defines dating or domestic violence as abuse suffered from someone seeking to gain control over his or her victim’s life through the use of force. Force is also loosely defined as the use of controlling words or violent actions.
According to SafeNet, domestic violence can affect anyone regardless of gender, race, age, religion or economic status. However, females are statistically more affected by domestic violence nationwide. Statistics show that one in three women will be forced to deal with this type of violence at some point in their lives, and that one in five college females will suffer the same fate during their college careers alone.
The figures for casualties suffered from dating and domestic violence have reached an estimated 1,200 deaths and more than 2 million injuries annually.
If you or someone you know has been the subject of domestic violence, call SafeNet’s 24-hour hotline, 814-454-8161, to make an anonymous phone call and receive information that can be the difference between staying and leaving an abusive relationship.
Gannon also wants to take the opportunity provided by Domestic Violence Awareness Month to ask students to be wary of the increasing trend of incidents of sexual harassment on college campuses. The National Center for Victims of Crime has concluded that alcohol has played a role in 75 percent of men’s and 55 percent of women’s involvement in acquaintance rape, the most common type of rape, and that a significant number of these incidents also take place on school grounds across the country.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, students and educators can make a difference in lowering the number of men and women affected by domestic and sexual violence by being aware of its reality and observing relationships among peers for potential threats.