UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | November 11, 2022

Domestic violence awareness becomes important on campus

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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” said Sue Kimball, Founder of the Erin Kimball Memorial Foundation, quoting Martin Luther King.

A Night of Domestic Violence Awareness and Candlelight Vigil, put together by the Washington County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, took place Wednesday, Oct. 2 from 6–8 p.m. in the Gardner Ballroom. Community members celebrated survivors and raised awareness of sexual assault, incest and abuse of any kind.

The vigil contained a few speakers such as Timothy Eicher, a professor at Dixie State University, who shared how his interest in women’s self-defense grew, and Ashlee Bambrough, a survivor of domestic abuse from Ogden.

Raging Red, Whiskey Tooth, dance groups Kalamity and Kaos, and flautist Chris Bagby performed.

Sarah Ramaker, a sophomore education major from Midland, Miss., and member of Raging Red, said the songs performed, “Somebody to Love and “Amazing Grace” were chosen because of their themes.

“I think that when something horrible happens in our lives, we have to forgive, find a way to love, and rely on grace,” Ramaker said.

Krystal Lyman, a coalition member, said the awareness for sexual abuse isn’t as prominent as it should be.

“I feel like it’s a taboo topic, so people don’t want to talk about it,” Lyman said. “One in three Utah social academic needs to be addressed.”

 Lyman said the ratio was mentioned during the night’s speeches, along with Utah having a higher rape average, than the national average, when Utah is below in most other crime. One in 10 women in Utah report assault and one in 100 men report.

Lyman said a few ways for citizens to take action against domestic violence is talking about it, encouraging coalition, to be involved in clubs such as Take Back the Night, and more awareness.

Awards were given at the end of the night to people in the community who have promoted or furthered the fight against domestic abuse. The awareness event concluded with attendees given a balloon and a candle and were led outside. The balloon release symbolized anything the holder wanted to release. After, members of the audience shared each other’s flame to start someone else’s candle.

Eicher said when domestic violence is brought up, or assault of any kind, everyone can relate to it, whether it has happened to them or someone they know.

“When you shine the light on domestic violence, it affects everyone,” said Eicher.