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Domestic violence service promotes healing, awareness

| Monday, October 6, 2014

The Saint Mary’s Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) is raising awareness about violence against women, particularly domestic violence, as part of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness month.

BAVO member and senior Payton Moore said the office held its first event Thursday, a prayer vigil to support victims and create awareness about domestic violence.

IMAG2757Emilie Kefalas

“We all know the statistics [that] one in four women are victims of sexual assault,” she said. “That one in four women are sexually assaulted in their college years … We at SMC want to show that one is too many.”

BAVO and Campus Ministry co-hosted the vigil for those impacted by violence so that the community could come together to address and acknowledge the issue, Moore said.

“The one-in-four statistic represents the fact that one in four women are victims of domestic violence, and one in four college-aged women are victims of sexual assault,” she said. “This was a vigil for both statistics.”

Although scheduled to be held outside, the vigil was moved indoors due to weather conditions.

“While I prefer the event being outside, the vigil still was nice indoors,” she said. “Having it indoors created a sense of intimacy.”

BAVO also teamed up with the Saint Mary’s volleyball team for an awareness event Friday during one of the Belles’ home games.

“We thought it would be a great way to come together to raise awareness for an important issue,” she said. “This year we decided to continue the effort.”

Senior Paige DeRouin and Moore helped organize the coalition after BAVO and the team decided to plan an awareness event last year.

“Paige DeRouin and myself are co-chairs on the Awareness and Outreach Committee for BAVO,” Moore said. “The domestic violence awareness volleyball game is an event listed under our committee. After seeing the turnout at the game, I say we did a pretty good job.”

The entire game was a “purple out,” complete with purple desserts for those who donated and purple “one is too many” buttons for those who donated a dollar, Moore said. All of the proceeds will benefit the Young Women’s Christian Association.

“The volleyball game is a fun way to create awareness and to help a local organization,” Moore said. “Purple is the color of domestic violence, so everything in the gym will be that color, from decorations to the desserts.”

BAVO hopes to become a larger presence on social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to further show students the resources and events it promotes.

“Seeing a BAVO event happen is rewarding in every aspect,” Moore said. “We plan these events months ahead of time and pour a lot of hard work into them. Seeing students come to an event is rewarding in every way. It shows that our efforts reach the student body, and it shows that our students care about these issues.”

By educating the Saint Mary’s student body, the awareness-month events have the potential to benefit students beyond their college careers, Moore said.

“I would just like to reiterate to students that these issues will probably impact your life at some point, whether it be you, a friend or a family member who goes through it,” she said.  “Furthermore, in all likeliness, you probably already know someone who has gone through this experience, but you just don’t know about it. People tend to see this statistic and think it can’t happen to them or someone they know, but it can, and it does.”

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