On average, nearly 20 people per minute in the U.S are physically abused by an intimate partner. In one year, this equates to more than 10 million people who experience domestic abuse.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month uplifts the voices of these victims and promotes the resources available, as well as spreads awareness about domestic abuse.
Twin City Missions Domestic Violence Prevention and Outreach Specialist Anne Santerre-Ruble said this month is significant because she believes creating awareness and educating others can be important.
“We want to just talk and start the conversation about domestic violence and to create that awareness and hopefully bring it into light, and also help other people who might be experiencing domestic violence and may not know or know what to do when they’re in that situation,” Santerre-Ruble said. “So just reaching our community with the knowledge and skills that they need to be safe and have healthy relationships.”
Santerre-Ruble said Twin City Missions offers a domestic violence program that provides multiple resources such as residential services through Phoebe’s Home, counseling, case managers, child advocacy and prevention outreach.
“Phoebe’s home [is] an emergency center where people can come to seek a safe place to stay for a temporary time, and it offers nutritional meals, laundry facilities, toiletries, clothing, transportation and recreational activities for residents,” Santerre-Ruble said.
Twin City Mission hosts weekly events educating others about domestic violence through movie nights, book discussions, candlelight vigils and panels. Santerre-Ruble said in preparation for the month, they wanted to focus on how domestic violence affects the Brazos Valley.
“I think domestic violence is something that’s like, ‘That’s something that doesn’t happen here so we don’t have to worry about it,’ but in reality it does happen in the Brazos Valley, so we’re just thinking of creative ways that will engage people instead of just lectures,” Santerre-Ruble said.
Communication junior Haley Tadlock serves as the vice president of philanthropy for the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, whose national philanthropy is domestic violence. Tadlock said they usually volunteer each semester at Phoebe’s Home, but they were unable to this fall due to COVID-19 restrictions, so they came up with alternatives to benefit the community.
“We have been putting on a semester-long supplies drive for them,” Tadlock said. “We have collected canned goods, toiletries, paper towels, toilet paper, restaurant gift cards and gas gift cards. I take the supplies we have collected to the shelter every two weeks.”
Tadlock said this year Alpha Chi Omega will be hosting a virtual Domestic Violence Awareness Week on Oct. 19-23.
“Our Instagram will feature our own members’ perspectives, thoughts and testimonies about domestic and dating violence,” Tadlock said. “We want to have a very strong social media presence and spread the word about DVA.”
Texas A&M Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, offers resources for those who are victims of domestic abuse through counseling and workshops. CAPS Director Dr. MaryAnn Covey said the counseling center works on building confidence, self esteem and how to identify red flags of different types of abuse.
“We try to empower people to see their own confidence and self esteem,” Covey said.
Covey said she hopes students will seek out services to help them increase their own strength, and stressed the importance of seeking help for long-term progress rather than a quick fix.
“I often tell students you’re stronger than you know you are, you don’t even know what you’re capable of,” Covey said. “That strength that you have, you haven’t really tapped into it yet and to really encourage their own self reflection to believe that ‘Yes I can do that.’”