Domestic violence addressed at workshop
Students and faculty gathered Oct. 17 in LCC’s Gannon Building to share personal stories about their experiences with domestic violence.
According to officials from EVE’s House (End Violent Encounters), the crime affects people of all ages, sexes, races, pay grades and education levels. Perpetrators of this crime that go to jail are less than 3 percent.
Rachel Berzack hosted the event. She is the community relations coordinator for EVE’s House, an organization that provides support services for victims of domestic violence and their families.
Berzack said she thought the discussion was a success.
“Everybody was very engaged; they asked a lot of wonderful questions,” she said. “I could tell that everybody there was community members that really wanted to help and make a difference …
“(The participants) wanted to know how they could do that in a safe way, which was really great to see … “That’s one of the big pieces that it’s going to take in order to make this a crime that doesn’t happen anymore.”
Participants in the discussion learned the many forms of domestic violence, including physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse.
Berzack said all of these types of abuse are tactics that help the abuser intimidate and gain control over the victim.
“Domestic violence is never the victim’s fault,” Berzack said. “Somebody is making a choice to be abusive to another person, so the responsibility of that lies solely with the abuser.”
Warning signs of abuse were also discussed. Besides physical wounds, warning signs for domestic abuse are also severe.
Rushed commitment, manipulation, isolation of the victim from friends and family, frequent jealousy from the abuser, and drastic behavior change from the victim, such as sudden shyness, may occur.
LCC Student Frank Vaca said the workshop was a “tremendous and much needed discussion,” and that workshops like these are not only helpful, but important.
“It’s good to get (feelings and experiences) out and not bottle them in,” Vaca said.
At the end of the discussion, Berzack informed participants on ways to help someone in need.
If someone is in an emergency situation, Berzack said the best action to take is to immediately call 911.
Berzack also stressed the importance of believing someone who says they have been abused.
“It’s very rare that people make up experiencing these crimes,” Berzack said. “False allegations are less than 2 percent, which is the same as any other violent crime.”
“Being receptive and supportive and just believing them and telling them the violence isn’t their fault can make a huge difference in the life of a survivor,” she added.
EVE’s crisis hotline can be reached 24 hours a day at 517-372-5572. For more information, visit www.eveinc.org