Attorney general visits WKU for domestic violence awareness month

domestic violence awareness month

Natasha Breu

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear visited campus on Wednesday for the third year in a row to speak on the issue.

Beshear signed a proclamation during his visit in a collaboration between WKU and the attorney general’s office with help from domestic violence shelter Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc. to raise awareness.

“We have a culture of rape and domestic violence,” Beshear said. “Letting people know we are here for them is so critical.”

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Tori Henninger, the executive director for Barren River Safe Space, said the organization’s mission is to introduce people to a new way of thinking to support and believe victims, along with giving victims a new way of life. She said the crisis line is always staffed, and last year they served 2,800 people through outreach services.

Provost Terry Ballman said violence of any kind will not be tolerated at WKU. She said WKU must educate its students and colleagues to recognize healthy relationships and provide an supportive environment for victims.

Beshear said one of the problems his office addresses is elder abuse by running a hotline open 24/7. He also said since he’s been attorney general the number of child predators removed from Kentucky communities has tripled.

He said he has been addressing violence against women by starting to test nearly 3,100 rape kits that have been backlogged. A cold case unit was opened up to “seek justice” for the people who have had their kits backlogged.

About 7.9 million women experience domestic violence every year, and about three women are killed every day by a former intimate partner, he said.

“If we want to change to culture, it’s time to stop asking and start demanding,” Beshear said.

Beshear and Ballman read parts of the proclamation stating women and children deserve to remain free from violence and encouraged members of the community to participate in programs to raise awareness.

News reporter Natasha Breu can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow Natasha on Twitter @nnbreu.