Organization combats domestic violence for women and men

Karina Castillo, Staff Writer

Domestic violence isn’t a gender-specific problem. In fact, it is an issue that can affect anyone regardless of age, social class or race. One in every three women and one in every four men experience some form of physical abuse in their lifetime.

St. John’s Latin American Student Organization (L.A.S.O) hosted “DoMENstic Violence: It’s a Mutual Thing” this Monday to shed light on this issue.

Junior L.A.S.O President Richard Cantoral hoped the event would be able to break stereotypes associated with domestic violence.

“It’s hard to visualize the fact that men and women are abused at an almost equal rate,” Cantoral said. “But it is important to realize that even the smallest action is worth more than the biggest intentions.”

In an effort to demonstrate this, videos depicting real life social experiments were presented. One showed a man verbally and physically abusing his girlfriend in the middle of a busy park. The reaction was almost instant. People rushed over to the bickering couple, sometimes even becoming physical with the aggressor to break the fight up.

A second video showed the opposite scenario, a woman verbally and physically abusing her boyfriend. This time, no one offered their help. Some bystander tried to hide the fact that they were laughing, while others had more vocal responses, yelling out “worldstar” and recording the couple fighting.

The main reason that most people felt they didn’t need to intervene when they saw a man being assaulted was because they didn’t really think his life was in danger. They all thought that he couldn’t possibly suffer any real harm in the hands of a woman.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “male victims often feel too embarrassed to report violence perpetrated against them.”

This mentality fuels the domestic abuse cycle, since “men who witnessed domestic violence as children are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children than those who did not witness domestic violence.”

When dealing with domestic abuse, it is important to understand that physical abuse isn’t the only form of abuse, since verbal, emotional and sexual abuse exists as well.

Often times, the person on the receiving end refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem. The question is: What can individuals do when the victim of domestic abuse keeps making excuses for their aggressor?

As a way to help combat this issue on campus, the Student Wellness Center offers a lot of on-campus resources to students. The Student Counseling Center can provide students with someone to talk to or even refer them to others if more help is required.

If the situation has reached the point where students feel they are out of their depth, the Wellness Center is able to step in. They have the ability to take a student out of class, forcing them to get the help they need without any excuses.

For L.A.S.O Vice President Magdaline Hurtad, the fight to end domestic violence is one that everyone must join.

“Even if it’s hard to believe, domestic violence has affected even those closest to you,” Hurtad said. “That is why we stand up against it; for the ones we love.”