Numerous Urbana University students and faculty signed a pledge against domestic violence and sexual assault Thursday.
The Urbana University Social and Behavioral Sciences Club held a pledge drive against sexual assault and domestic violence where anyone who walked into the student center Thursday was asked to sign a banner pledging to not engage in such conduct.
Sophomore psychology major and club president Heather Robinson said the event was aimed at raising awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault.
After receiving signatures, the banner will hang in the student center.
“People don’t talk about it enough and we wanted to get the word out,” Robinson said. “Once everyone signs this we’re going to hang it up in the student center so that it shows them and holds them accountable to what they pledged to.”
Robinson said the idea to raise awareness came after a club member was abused physically and verbally.
Senior psychology major and club member Jacey Wright found a pledge at conference with Healthy Campus Partners, a consortium of colleges in central Ohio headed by Wright State University aimed at promoting sexual safety and maturity. The pledge was printed and handed out to students and faculty on small cards Thursday.
Urbana University Associate Professor for Criminal Justice Karen Benton is the co-chair of the club. She said Thursday’s initiative was an opportunity to remind people that this behavior is not acceptable.
“Letting them know that this is not OK and there are alternatives to that and that we can find other ways to deal with aggressive behavior is much more appropriate,” Benton said. “This is a small community but we’re family here – we have kids that come from a variety of settings and have had a variety of experiences and so this is a chance for them to get their voice back too for a lot of them that have been victims saying ‘we’re not going to take it anymore.’”
In addition to signing the pledge, students were also provided information on the types of domestic violence and what a domestic violence victim looks like.
Speaking on resources available on campus, Benton said a Project Woman advocate is on campus several days a week through the university’s counseling office.
“If a student comes to student services and wants to share that they’re having issues such as that then we refer them to the appropriate agency so they can be assessed and the get the help that they need,” Benton said.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.