It’s On Us hosts event stressing issue of interpersonal violence

Detailing behavior such as excessive calls and shoving against walls, It’s On Us addressed interpersonal violence through an interactive group setting in Mabee Ballroom Oct. 19.

The 1 in 3 panel derives its name from a statistic that describes the number of people affected by interpersonal violence.

Director of Health and Counseling Beth Charrier said that when it comes to domestic and interpersonal violence, she’s often asked, “why don’t people just leave?”

To exploring the complexities that go along with that decision, Charrier provided each table a scenario. From that scenario, attendees were given lists of possibilities for the next step when handling such a relationship. 

Participants could choose from the following: break up, report the occurrence to a friend or a faculty or staff member, do nothing, move residence halls or change contact information and social media.

President of It’s On Us, Alma Baker, echoed that sentiment. 

“Oftentimes we think it’s simple when it’s a lot more complicated,” Baker said. “When people are in relationships, it’s much harder to get out than we often think.”

Former President Barack Obama launched the It’s On Us campaign in 2014 to raise awareness about sexual assault on college campuses. 

Since then, colleges have formed their own chapters, and Baker addressed that most of their previous events focused on sexual assault.

“Interpersonal violence is just as important to focus on and just as prevalent,” Baker said.

During an anonymous question and answer portion of the event, students expressed an interest in knowing how to respond if a friend is in an abusive relationship.

“It gets very frustrating and hard to be with your friend who has now gone back to a partner who has been abusive multiple times,” Charrier said. “It’s hard to be in that place with them but if…they have less isolation in their world, if they have one lifeline, they’re more likely to get out.”

Another question asked how someone would follow through on ceasing contact with someone if they lived on campus.

“Maybe you know that person is going out of town for the weekend and you can move then,” Charrier said. “So, if you live on campus, whatever you need to do to make you feel safe and protected, we’re gonna do.”

Questions also addressed concerns such as no contact agreements, the abuser not being aware that they are one and suggestions to point out abusive behavior.

This event came prior to the group’s action week that began Oct. 23 to raise awareness and support of those who have experienced harassment or assault.