I fell down the stairs. I am just clumsy. She didn’t mean it. But he loves me.
Do these “reasons” sound familiar when a friend or loved one shows up with a black eye or a bruised arm?
The Justice Center and the UAA chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice Honor Society, will introduce the national “NO MORE” campaign against domestic violence to campus through a discussion panel at 7 p.m. March 19 in the Consortium Library.
“Focus will be on bystander intervention to move past the passive agreement that ‘yes domestic violence is bad’ to action — doing something about it,” said Kristen Speyerer, justice major and coordinator of the event.
NO MORE was founded by actress, Mariska Hargitay, and the campaign is taking flight in several universities around the country. Several celebrities have joined the cause of awareness, from rapper Ice-T to comedian Amy Pollard.
To bring local awareness to the table, several experts will serve on the panel, including Marny Rivera, UAA Justice Department faculty; Randi Breager, Alaska State Troopers program coordinator; and Rhonda Street and Dave DeLesline, officers of the Anchorage Police Department.
Speyerer said the annual Alaska Victimization Survey, conducted by the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the campus Justice Center, shows figures to give the subject of domestic violence local context. For example, 60 percent of women in Alaska will be a victim of domestic abuse of some sort in their lifetimes. Domestic violence rates in Alaska are the highest in the nation.
Simona Gerdts, who is the president of Apha Phi Sigma and a main coordinator of the event, said the panel will also touch on domestic violence against men, something that is often overlooked and lesser discussed. The NO MORE message is not limited to women.
“Domestic violence does not discriminate against race, national origin, socioeconomic status, gender or sexual orientation — it’s everywhere,” Gerdts said.
Gertdts said the event was organized for March because it is National Criminal Justice month. The event just so happens to take place during NO MORE Week, which celebrates the one-year anniversary of the campaign.
The symbol for the NO MORE message is a blue zero for “no more.” The campus is covered in flyers with the blue zero. Speyerer said the goal is to have the blue symbol as widely recognized as the pink breast cancer ribbon one day.
Gerdts said another goal is to break the taboo of discussing domestic violence, which is often viewed as a personal topic that just isn’t spoken about, even today.
“This is one way to come together. Domestic violence shouldn’t be a stigma, and it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of,” Gertdts said.
For those who cannot attend, information can be found through the “UAA Says NO MORE” Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/nomoreuaa.