Credit: Photo Illustration. Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Seventy-six sexual assault and rape survivors, 21 dating violence and stalking survivors, 15 people who endured stalking. Safer’s Annual Statistics outline 112 Cal Poly students who reported to Safer last school year.

These Cal Poly students joined the 20 Americans per minute and 10 million Americans per year that received physical abuse by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

To provide support to these survivors, Safer, Cal Poly’s confidential support resource for sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking, partnered with two local organizations this October to raise awareness of domestic violence.

“It’s definitely a problem that I think just gets swept under the rug,” sociology sophomore Miriam Robles said. “Everyone has that mindset that it will never happen to them, but in reality this sort of thing happens to people every day.”

In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 appointing October as the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to NCADV, Domestic Violence Awareness Month originally developed from the “Day of Unity” held in Oct. 1981. The purpose was to connect individuals across the country working to end violence against women and children. It went from a day celebration to a week-long celebration across the nation.

Safer partnered with Stand Strong and RISE (Respect.Inspire.Support.Empower.), organizations aimed to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the community, to coordinate events.

“I think more than anything I would like to engage people in the movement and encourage them to start by believing,” RISE Associate Director Jane Pomeroy said. “Our job is to educate, support, empower and help people.”

This year, Safer, RISE and Stand Strong organized six events for the community. Safer Lead Coordinator Kara Samaniego said they are switching it up this year by focusing on events that target the community as a whole rather than many different events targeting more specific communities on campus.

“I’d like people to reflect on the various ways this is impacting their lives and the people around them. I’m hoping we as a community can build that empathy and come to an understanding of our role in eliminating this violence in our community,” Samaniego said.

Photo Illustration. Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Awareness Events

Self-Care Summit, a new event, will be held Saturday, Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Multi Activity Center (building 43). It is open to all students and will include a yoga session and Campus Health and Wellbeing speakers.

“It’s really just giving students an opportunity to focus on themselves whether they’ve been directly impacted or just want to unwind and learn about our resources,” Samaniego said.

To show support for local victims and survivors of domestic violence, people are encouraged to wear purple, the national color for domestic violence awareness, on Thursday, Oct. 25, “Purple Thursday.”

At 6:30 p.m. that same day, a candlelight vigil will take place at the Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo.  This event was introduced last year.

A shelter drive is also running until Oct. 26 — all donations and proceeds can be dropped off at the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s office (building 47, room 31). All donations will be given to Stand Strong and RISE.

“I think what distinguishes the month this year over the past few years is that there is more awareness behind domestic violence. We are seeing momentum on social media, more people are getting involved, and it feels less like we are alone in this,” Pomeroy said.

For immediate help, call the 24-hour crisis line for RISE at (855) 886-RISE (7473) or Stand Strong at (805) 781-6400.

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