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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

How Los Rios is bringing awareness to domestic violence
Graphic created by Ashleigh Bennett (Ashleigh Bennett/[email protected])

U.S. Congress first declared October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989 with the purpose of supporting survivors of domestic abuse, mourning those who have lost their lives to domestic assault and uniting those fighting to end the violence and spread awareness about the issue.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines across the U.S. each day. One in three women and one in four men have experienced “some form of physical violence” from an intimate partner. This intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime. 

The Los Rios Community College District and WEAVE (When Everyone Acts Violence Ends), a local nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention services, work together to contribute a confidential advocate for students and staff who may be suffering from domestic violence, sexual harassment or assault or sex trafficking (which includes any person who has been forced, tricked or manipulated into preforming commercial sex), according to Dominique Rosete, Los Rios’ confidential advocate from WEAVE.

Rosete said the organization provides several resources for those in need. This includes a safe six-month shelter and two-year transitional housing for those escaping violent homes, a 24/7 crisis line, a live chat for when circumstances make it unsafe for a phone call, counseling for survivors, assistance with family law and advocacy outreach.

Through Los Rios, Rosete connects students with these resources and supports them in any way she can. She is also one of the only nonmandated reporters on campus, so students can approach her with concerns or inquiries without fear of being exposed to law enforcement. She can help with anything from unwanted attention, sexual harassment, classroom sexism or homophobia, to more serious issues, like physical abuse or stalking, that might require law enforcement’s intervention. 

“I can pretty much help students navigate what’s going on in [their] situation,” Rosete said. “Here are some options that you have. If you want to move forward with these options, let me help you connect to those services or at least be with you.” 

Rosete works closely with the Title IX coordinator for City College, Andre Coleman, who is the dean of the Office of Intervention. He ensures fair treatment and safety on campus for all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender, as required under Title IX, which is a civil rights law passed by Congress in 1972 that applies to any school receiving federal funds. 

“Fundamentally, safety and security are one of the most crucial, fundamental pieces to our existence and us being well,” Coleman said. “If I don’t feel safe, if I don’t feel secure, how can I do much of anything at all?” 

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Coleman spoke about the prevalence of sexism and mistreatment toward women in society. 

“Ultimately, we have nothing if people aren’t safe and secure,” Coleman said. “The reality is often that we perpetuate these things, and it is a societal flaw that we are constantly battling—the sexism, the idea that women can be treated as objects, the concept that as a man I am dominant, and you are here for my pleasure. There’s so much there that we have to make sure it just doesn’t perpetuate.”

One of the most important aspects of her work, Rosete explained, is advocacy and prevention education. 

“Domestic Violence Awareness Month is to spread awareness to the situation that so many people go through,” Rosete said. “A lot of times in media or society [people] might think that domestic violence only happens to one population — like it only happens to women or it only happens between husband and wife — but at WEAVE, we truly understand that this can happen to anybody, regardless of race, sexual identity, gender identity and things like that. So with WEAVE, we at least want to put out this idea that we should all care about this because it’s happened to so many in our community.”

Oftentimes, there is a drastic misconception of what abuse might look like or where it might take place, Rosete said. While many people may believe violence happens in dark alleys at the hands of scary criminals, in reality, every minute, 20 people are physically abused by their intimate partner or spouse, resulting in 10 million cases of violence each year, according to the NCADV.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month provides the opportunity to truly examine this issue and diminish the misconceptions surrounding it. Rosete emphasized the importance of spreading awareness as it gives the community the opportunity to bring these unseen issues of abuse into the light. 

“I know it’s kind of corny, to say, you know, knowledge is power, but it really is,” Rosete said. “The more we know, the less stigma there is around domestic violence, the less barriers survivors will face in accessing resources because more people will know about the resources and can share them. So I think educating yourself is one of the best ways to get involved.”

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