Photo by Abby Van Buren
Students and members of the community walked around campus to bring awareness and show reverence to victims of local domestic violence during a candlelit vigil hosted by UVU and the Center for Women and Children in Crisis Oct. 23.
Studies show that one in three Utah women —approximately 500,000 —experience domestic abuse at some point in their life.
“It’s just not right, something needs to be done,” Susan Madsen, director of the Utah Women and Leadership Project said.
“It is the only violent crime that Utah is higher than the nation,” Madsen said in regards to sexual assault. Madsen shared statistics showing Utah constantly ranking higher than the nation in sexual assault, women suicides, domestic violence and other attacks on women, children and even men.
Even with the statistics presented, Madsen does not think the magnitude of these types of violence is accurately represented.
“These are reports. So, you think everything is reported? No.” Madsen said.
Heather Wolsey, a survivor of domestic violence, shared her experience. She explained that she loved her husband and thought he might just be sick. He abused her, and after threatening to kill her, she knew this was something she could not fix.
“I went to the police, I reached out for help and I wasn’t believed,” Wolsey said.
Wolsey said that there is a crisis within the communities of Utah. “If somebody comes to you and tells you something, believe them, don’t question them.”
“[The march] was very peaceful. It felt like everybody that was marching cared,” Alecia Epeneter, a sophomore in communication said. “It was interesting looking at all of the statistics.”
“The biggest challenge facing our world today is based on the presumption that men and boys are superior to women and girls,” Madsen said in reference to a quote by Jimmy Carter.
The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition can be reached through the hotline 1(800)897-5465.