Change the culture this October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month


One in three women and one in four men will experience some form of interpersonal violence during their life. For college students, that risk is even higher. Detecting the signs of domestic violence, as well as being able to intervene as a bystander, are key skills for all college students.

IUPUI will be hosting several events throughout Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) that aim to not only bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence, but also to provide students with the skills necessary to prevent violence.

Prevention Education Specialist Viviane Linos stressed that despite popular belief, domestic violence can happen to anyone.

"For a long time, domestic violence made people think of a married couple or a heteronormative family with kids, but domestic violence can happen to anyone," said Linos. "It might be more accurate to call it 'relationship violence.'"

"You can experience harm or violence with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or someone you've been dating casually. You can also experience harm or violence in a friendship, in a professional relationship and even with your roommates."

By expanding the definition of domestic violence, Linos hopes that DVAM will provide more people with the resources they need to both cope with the violence they have experienced in the past, or to prevent violence for themselves and others in the future.

Building awareness and sharing skills

Purple Thursday, which takes place on Oct. 20, is a day where everyone on campus is encouraged to wear purple and to spread support for survivors of domestic violence, while also bringing awareness to our ability to prevent violence from occurring.

The following week, Gamma Phi Omega will be running the Domestic Violence Campout from Oct. 24 to Oct. 25 in Taylor Courtyard. The campout will raise funds for the Julian Center, a domestic violence shelter dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Indiana. Anyone who donates $2 or more to the cause will get to throw a pie at the face of a Gamma Phi Omega member.

Educate yourself by attending events like Domestic Violence 101 and Red and Green Flags in Relationships, which aim to teach students how to spot unhealthy relationships, what to look for in a healthy relationship and how they can protect themselves and fellow students. 

Changing the culture

Linos emphasized that while she wants students to come to as many events as possible, DVAM is bigger than that.

"I really want to focus on the culture change aspect of it. We often just let these awareness months go by and just wear the color and share the resources, but I really hope everyone at IUPUI feels empowered that they have a role to play in changing the culture," she said.

"We have the skills and resources to prevent violence and harm from happening, so let's invest our time and energy into doing that."

A key to prevention is understanding what is and is not healthy in a relationship. Many people have misconceptions about what is acceptable in a healthy relationship, partially do to the portrayal of romance in movies and television.  

"We have a lot of unlearning to do about what healthy relationships are and what they should look like based on what we normalize in our culture. But that's why we're here. That's what we're hoping to change," Linos said.

For more information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, visit the Sexual Assault Prevention, Intervention and Response Task Force website or follow them on social media.