Throughout the month of October, Safer has been hosting “Dating Violence Action Month 2021: Our Vibrance Breaks the Silence.” The action month itinerary includes a variety of booths on campus, Instagram Lives with campus partners and events for the Cal Poly community.
Safer is Cal Poly’s resource for addressing sexual assault, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual exploitation and harassment. Safer also focuses on teaching students about forming healthy relationships and setting boundaries.
According to Safer’s website, Domestic Violence Awareness Month stems from “Day of Unity,” an event that was held in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This day, which later evolved into Domestic Violence Awareness Month, started with the goal of connecting social workers with families and individuals affected by domestic violence.
In 2021, Safer changed all “awareness” months to “action” months with the goal of “moving past awareness and into collective action,” according to Safer’s website.
“Each and every one of us deserves to have healthy, equitable relationships, and that’s possible — if we are engaged in this movement together,” Safer’s gender-based violence prevention specialist Jennifer MacMartin wrote in an email to Mustang News.
For the rest of October, Safer is offering opportunities for learning, healing and engagement through numerous events.
Shawn Ginwright, who promotes a strength-based, culturally grounded and communal approach to healing trauma, will give a keynote speech on Oct. 28.
According to Safer student staff member Elizabeth Dodge, Ginwright will be speaking on how to shift the narrative of ending violence and healing trauma to a more strengths-based, community approach.
“Through these events, my team and I are hoping that people understand that dating violence does occur in our community, and they have an individual responsibility to end it,” Dodge said. “It takes many individual people together to shift the narrative, call one another in and support other members in this community.”
A campus-wide event like Dating Violence Action Month encourages students to expand their ideas about relationships and learn things such as setting boundaries, love languages, understanding the spectrum of relationships and practicing open and honest communication, according to MacMartin.
“I hope students know that Safer is here to support them, that they deserve to be in healthy relationships and that they must hold themselves accountable to be in healthy relationships as well,” MacMartin wrote in an email to Mustang News.
To learn more about Safer and Domestic Violence Action Month, visit https://safer.calpoly.edu/.