Art conveys stories for domestic violence awareness

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At HSU in October, shadows cut from plywood contain accounts of domestic violence.

by Olivia Drake
Flapjack Chronicle

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, Kink On Campus organized a tabling event in the UC quad to raise awareness on domestic violence, a widespread and prevalent issue.

Psychology major Kate Arreno, 24, is a part of Humboldt Domestic Violence Services, for which she created pamphlets for information on where to find support groups for those who need help.

“HDVS is an ongoing strength-based program for women, men, and children,” Arreno said. “We have a 24-hour crisis and support line where anyone can call, anonymous or not. We just want to help.”

Among the several tables was a group of shadowed figures cut out of plywood, each with the individual accounts of their personal tragedies posted on them. The stories are all factual, and the figures are shaped to resemble their real-life story-tellers. They were created in hopes that others could find them inspirational and enough to encourage anyone to share their story as well and seek help, should they need it.

Tina Marie Wells had her story posted on one of the shadows. Her abusive husband shot her to death after she tried to gain full custody of their child. An 18-year-old undeclared HSU student felt a personal connection with her tragic tale.

“The Tina Marie Wells story is so familiar to my own dysfunctional family,” she said. “Peoples’ lives are affected every day by violence in the home. It’s a shame that it’s so common. Violence shouldn’t be common.”

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Safer Sex Humboldt assisted in tabling at the event, where multiple resources were offered to anyone who had questions about various topics from gender to sexual communication. They promoted upcoming events that were created in hopes of getting others to speak out about their own experiences.

“The saddest part about so many people in the world not knowing about the reality of these issues is that very few people have the strength to talk about their tragedies,” said Dan Hess, a director of the Family Violence Protection Program. “No one should be afraid to talk about these things. We’re hoping that event small events like today’s tables in the quad will bring people together.”

The Women’s Resource Center was sure to appear in their efforts to eliminate the fear-induced label of “victim” and replace it with a stronger title of “survivor.” Adjustments like these construct a new view on experiences, and how they should be seen as something that a survivor fought through, as opposed to a victim being weighed down by their scars.

Yasmin Mendez, a 20-year-old child development major, was thankful for the organization of helpful resources that day.

“Changes are made by people like these,” she said with a smile on her face. “Differences can be made if we help each other. This generation is all about helping each other. And that’s really something.”

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