Caboni, Beshear commit to end domestic violence

Attorney General Andy Beshear discusses how a community should remain safe by keeping violence out during the Proclamation Signing in the first floor of Downing Student Union on Oct. 9, 2017.

Monica Kast

President Timothy Caboni and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear signed a proclamation Monday afternoon, declaring the month of October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month at WKU.

The proclamation states that Caboni and Beshear “believe in the inherent right of all women and children to remain free from violence,” and stated Beshear and Caboni’s commitment to “ending the cycle of violence on our campus, in our city and county.” The proclamation also encouraged students, faculty and staff to participate in events and programs “to eliminate violence in our families.”

Beshear spoke before signing the proclamation, saying that one of his four major goals is “seeking justice for victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence.”

“I want you to know that we use the term justice because it’s what we need,” Beshear said. “You all know that we see far, far too many instances of domestic violence … yet rarely we see the type of justice that must come out of it.”

Beshear said that “nearly 1 in 2 Kentucky women will be subjected to some form of sexual violence in their lifetime,” and he “would not live with the reality” of that statistic.

Beshear said he will announce grants from the Department of Justice “that will help us seek justice for victims of rape and sexual assault that have waited far too long.” Beshear said the announcement will be streamed live on Wednesday.

Caboni also spoke before signing the proclamation, saying “domestic violence is never acceptable,” and violence of any kind “will not be tolerated on our campus.”

“A single instance of interpersonal violence is one too many and it will not stand,” Caboni said.

Caboni said he had two key messages for those attending, one message for those in an abusive relationship and one message for those who want to help someone who is in an abusive relationship.

“To those in a relationship, you didn’t cause the violence ,and no one has the right to hurt you,” Caboni said. “And to those who want to help, you are there to offer support, not to rescue and not to save.”

Caboni said he was “honored” and proud to sign the proclamation, complimented Beshear’s “leadership on this issue.”

Elizabeth Madariaga, sexual assault services coordinator at WKU’s Counseling and Testing Center, said the proclamation “sends a very clear message to college campuses that violence is not acceptable here or anywhere.”

Madariaga thanked Caboni and Beshear for their support and said there is hope for ending domestic violence in Kentucky.

“The statistics are staggering but hope is not,” Madariaga said.

WKU students who have been victims of domestic violence can contact the Counseling and Testing Center for assistance. In Bowling Green, Barren River Area Safe Space, or BRASS, also exists as a shelter for victims of domestic violence and also offers crisis intervention and educational programming. Representatives from both groups attended the proclamation signing Monday.

News editor Monica Kast can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @monica_kast.