Students Join Together to Recognize Empowerment Day

Photo Credit/ Laura Jean Null

By Ryan McFadden
Staff Writer

ESU called on students last Tuesday to break the silence and stand up against intimate partner violence, or IPV.

Empowerment Day sought to raise awareness for the victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), who are often dealing with abuse alone, afraid to seek help.

The event featured a candlelight vigil, a student march across campus, spoken word testimonies and the Explosion Step Team.

“I feel a lot of people are scared to talk about it, and there’s a big stigma behind it,” said Hannah Dennis, freshman. “It’s important to connect with people outside of the university and outside of our littlebubble here.”

The vigil featured spoken word accounts from two ESU students affectedby IPV firsthand.

These two students opened up to the crowd, discussing the damage domestic abuse can cause, reminding survivors they are not alone.

The first speaker, Ariel, spoke on her experience at a party being, “completely alone and vulnerable”and how misguided perceptions left her to be taken advantage of.

She pulled light from this darkness by describing how the communal support she found has brightened her life.

The second speaker, Isaiah, described a broken home. “Why is this my family’s normal?”

He also commented, “I think I struggle with opening up because I know how to keep secrets.”

His testimony was a window tot he effect domestic violence has on young men.

A large screen was set up in the quad to show a video of faculty and students pledging to end IPV.

During the lighting of the candles this video was a call to stand up and fight domestic abuse.

After the conclusion of the video, the guest speaker led the crowd through a pledge to “break the silence and stand up against IPV.”

Empowerment Day also featured a student march across campus to demonstrate the strength IPV survivors find in numbers.

The crowd stretched the length of Monroe Hall and consisted of students,faculty and community members.

“IPV does not discriminate,” said Aliana, an organizer at the event, “IPV can affect anybody no matter what community you’re a part of.”

Several groups helped to sponsor and set up the event. Including the ESU Women’s Center, ESU Wellness Education and Prevention and the Women’s Resources of Monroe County.

Also, volunteers from PRIDE, Feminist Alliance, Zeta Phi Beta, Phi Sigma Cappa, MSU, LSU and Lam Diota were all in attendance to support the cause.

At the end of the event the Explosion Step Team performed an interpretive dance to “stomp” out IPV.

The ESU community was brought together to shed light on an issue that keeps its victims in the dark.

ESU takes the pledge to end intimate partner violence, or IPV and asks the same from its students,faculty and community.

Email Ryan at:
rmcfadden5@live.esu.edu

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