OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to recognize the issue, Weber State University’s Women’s Center will hold virtual events to educate the community about domestic violence. Weber State says that the domestic violence is an issue of increasing concern as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Weber State has had a Women’s Center on campus since 1980. The center is a resource for students, faculty, and staff that focuses on violence prevention education and services for survivors of domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, harassment, and stalking. During October, the center honors the experiences of survivors and offers education to help people create healthy relationships, said Paige Davies, center director.
“In Utah, sometimes there is a stigma around saying your family isn’t picture perfect,” Davies said. “We have a huge emphasis on family in this state, which is great, and sometimes that emphasis can really make it hard for people who are struggling at home to feel confident in reaching out for help.”
Virtual events will include virtual workshops, a film festival, and a t-shirt exhibit made by or in honor of domestic violence survivors. All events are open to the public.
“If you haven’t yet, you probably will experience domestic violence in your future, maybe not as a primary victim, but as a secondary witness or confidant,” said Kelly Larsen, Safe@Weber peer educator at the Women’s Center and child and housing advocate at YCC. “We want you to go into that experience with a set of tools to feel empowered to help a victim in the future.”
Like other domestic violence crisis lines across the state, the 24/7 crisis line run by Your Community Connection of Ogden and Northern Utah (YCC) has experienced a jump in calls since the pandemic began.
From October through December 2019, the YCC crisis line received 613 calls, according to Margaret Rose, executive director of YCC, who shared this data with the Ogden City Council at its Sept. 15 meeting. From April through June 2020, the number of calls jumped to 2,393, almost quadrupling since the fall.
Community members can also follow @WeberStateWomensCenter on Facebook and Instagram, where updates on the center’s education campaign will be posted throughout October.
Weber State students, staff, or faculty who are experiencing domestic violence, harassment or other abuse can contact the Women’s Center at 801-626-6090 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, Monday-Friday, to learn more about Safe@Weber Advocacy Services. The center also has a list of community resources available on its webpage.