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LIT hosts abuse information event

LIT instructor Donna Burnside and student Rhaiven Kyle pass out statistics about domestic violence and purple ribbons. UP photo by Eleanor Skelton
LIT instructor Donna Burnside and student Rhaiven Kyle pass out statistics about domestic violence and purple ribbons. UP photo by Eleanor Skelton

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, according to statistics from the Texas Council on Family Violence. Almost half of college women reported experiencing abusive behaviors from their partner and one in five women are sexually assaulted during college.

Lamar Institute of Technology hosted a domestic violence awareness event, Tuesday, in the LIT quad.

Donna Burnside, LIT speech instructor, said she saw domestic violence growing up when her mother was abused by her father. She said she wants her students to know the warning signs.

“Some of my students asked me what is it, can you give me some examples, where do you go and get help?” she said. “They didn’t know these answers.”

Students handed out pamphlets with statistics and purple ribbons to wear. Burnside said that domestic violence is a silent killer.

“People are afraid to talk about it once it happens to them,” Victoria Merchant, Beaumont LIT sophomore, said.

One of Burnside’s students, Maci Matthews, demonstrated techniques such as wrist escapes and how to get away if someone grabs a shirt or neck. Matthews is a senior fourth degree black belt taekwondo instructor at Tiger Rock Martial Arts.

“We’ve broken a couple of boards, which are equivalent to breaking someone’s collarbone,” she said. “We’re bringing attention to what happens, why it happens, and how to not be in that situation.”

Burnside said she wants her students to be able to find their way out if they are in an abusive relationship.

“We’re really trying to teach them how to defend themselves when they actually get in a situation that is unhealthy,” she said. “Plus, we want them to be able to talk to people about their problems — don’t hold this stuff in, go and seek help.

“I want them to know that it is normal to go and talk to a psychiatrist or a counselor, and they are not crazy. There’s a stereotype that if you go talk to a counselor or a psychiatrist, there’s something wrong with you. But you’re being healed by going. I had to go talk to a psychiatrist one time and I felt good talking about my problems and, at the end, she gave me solutions and look at me today.”

Burnside said she tells her students to go to the Lamar Student Health Center if they are being abused.

“I was told by a wise person each generation is cursed (and) it’s up to you to cease it, stop it, or you carry it on,” she said. “Since I encountered domestic violence in my family, I refuse to carry it on. I went and got counseling.

“Parents are not aware that it not only affects them but it affects the children as well, and I’m very thankful that I actually went and talked to (someone) and I am healed.”

Story by Eleanor Skelton, UP contributor

Category: News