WSC provides Avoiding Domestic Violence panel and Safe Zone training

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Photo by Collin Cooper

Domestic violence does not just occur but is a process that develops in stages, William Erb, senior director of Student Health Services at UVU, told an audience at the Grande Ballroom Oct. 11.

Erb, along with four other professionals who have worked with domestic abuse survivors, were part of a panel discussion titled, “Avoiding Domestic Violence,” which was organized by the Women’s Success Center as part of the Clothesline Project.

According to Erb, early stages of domestic abuse include when a partner downplays their significant other, instigates harmful debate and desires verbal aggression as well as making threats.

Dr. Marcy Hehnly, one of the panelists who currently teaches intro to criminal justice as well as corrections and criminology at UVU, advised people to leave when they first start to see warning signs of a potential abuser.

Dr. Matthew Draper, a panelist and a behavioral science professor at UVU, suggested to let go of unhealthy and abusive relationships.

“There are people in our life to whom the most loving thing we can say to them is goodbye,” said Draper. “The reason I phrase it that way is so often because we love somebody who has very toxic behavior towards us.”

Everyone on the panel agreed that a culture of silence and not reporting abuse is common in Utah County.

“We don’t realize that there are problems because we are very religious around here, we’re very community service oriented, a lot of really positive things. We think that makes us immune to all these other problems,” said Linda Walton, a panelist and adjunct instructor at UVU. “Just because you’re in a religion doesn’t mean you’re not going to be violent.”

According to the Utah Department of Health, there is approximately one intimate partner-related homicide every 33 days that occurs in the state of Utah.

Karen Deysher, program manager of LGBTQ Student Services, introduced a presentation on Safe Zone training Oct. 12 as part of the Clothesline Project.

The importance of Safe Zone training is that it educates and fosters a welcoming environment for members of the LGBTQ community at UVU. While the training is not mandatory, it is highly recommended to create inclusive spaces on campus. The training educates people on how to refer to others by their preferred pronouns, the differences between gender identity and sexual orientation as well as encouraging open dialogues.

Rebecca Cain, an events coordinator for WSC, said, “We thought it would be great to bring in more of the LGBTQ community. It’s a rising question right now. Something we want to do with this event is create awareness of different types of domestic violence.”

In her presentation, Deysher discussed that domestic violence was more likely to happen amongst transgender people of color.

Melanie Farronay, digital marketing major at UVU, said, “I didn’t know there were so many terms. It’s not really talked about. I’m still struggling to know the differences between them and I feel like if I go to the Safe Zone training then I’ll learn more.”

Upcoming Safe Zone training sessions will occur Oct. 26 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Nov. 11 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. in LA 116.