Domestic Violence Awareness Month started from a “day of unity” in October 1981 and has grown to what it is today. This year, Alysa Mozak, Drake’s coordinator for sexual violence response and healthy relationship promotion, got Drake’s campus involved.
“Violence is not just a problem for the victims,” Mozak said. “Everyone is affected in some way.”
She wanted everyone, not just survivors, to be a part of the month’s movement. It’s the students’ opportunity to show that they care and become an ally for those who are survivors of domestic violence.
Mozak feels that DVAM isn’t well marketed; many people don’t even know there’s a month devoted to domestic violence, even though one in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. The Center for Disease Control has even called its occurrence an epidemic stating that it’s nearing the rates of heart disease and cancer.
“This is not about your own personal stance or whether you are a victim, but to give victims a voice,” Mozak said. “We need to be the solution.”
She planned events throughout the month to raise the awareness. Last week, Mozak had a booth set up in the Olmsted Breezeway to give out purple ribbons and fact sheets about DVAM. On Oct. 20 she urged everyone to wear purple in support.
“It’s a little awareness,” she said, “but the reason I want to do this is to start a conversation.” She wanted students, staff and faculty to get involved to show that they are allies for survivors.
Mozak feels that waves of purple on campus would raise questions for students who don’t know about the movement and will want to get involved. Those students, faculty and staff who haven’t heard about DVAM might take note.
The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence will also get involved at Drake. Mozak has arranged for the group to send an advocate to speak on Oct. 26. The event will be at 7 p.m. on Pomerantz Stage and will include a question and answer portion. She hopes the speaker will be an inspiration to those who have been victims and those who are allies. Learning how to create a better atmosphere of change on campus is one of Mozak’s primary goals.
“I’m looking for everyone to be passionate,” Mozak said. “I want to get people thinking about how it can affect them.”
The forum could help to communicate new needs to Drake’s faculty and staff as well as create a conversation about domestic violence.
Mozak hopes that this isn’t the only time she gets to raise awareness about domestic violence.
“Events like this shouldn’t just happen for a month and then be gone and forgotten,” she said.
Mozak’s new position at Drake has allowed her to open doors for students, staff and faculty alike. She hopes to keep making a difference by getting students as involved as possible. An issue that she is currently working on is dating violence on campus. Anyone who would like to get involved should contact her with ideas and concerns.