Program focuses on domestic violence

(From back) WKU seniors, Mara Farris and Kaitlyn McGrath and junior Jessica Williams perform a dance for “I Love The Way You Lie” on Tuesday in Mass Media and Technology Hall Auditorium. DOROTHY EDWARDS/HERALD

Hannah Bushon

Twenty-two women have been killed in domestic violence instances in Kentucky in 2010 so far.

Marta Woosley, of Barren River Area Safe Spaces (BRASS), presented that statistic and others at Tuesday’s “Love the Way You Lie” event in Mass Media and Technology Hall Auditorium as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The title stems from the single by Eminem and Rihanna, which focuses on violence that both artists have experienced.

The event began with a dramatic reading, as three young women recounted emotional and physical abuse, ending the segment with three rules in unison: “Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”

When WKU alumna Marta Woosley stood to speak, she presented the audience with a personal recount of her mother escaping domestic violence when she was young.

Domestic violence is the number one cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 to 44, according to a pamphlet distributed by BRASS.

Woosley also said that 1,232 women a year will be mentally, physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner.

Woosley identified the three stages of an abusive relationship. Stage one is the “romantic” phase, when two people become connected. Stage two is the “stress and conflict” stage, where stressors on a relationship begin to wear away the facade and fights become more frequent. Stage three is the “abuse and violence” phase-the time frame when outbursts become physical, and more frequent.

Woosley urged those who are suffering to get help. She also reminded those currently suffering in an abusive relationship that the attacks will not stop, but will continue to get more violent.

Woosley went on to say that the BRASS crisis line is in place to help anyone struggling, and may be called 24/7 at 800-928-1183.

Woosley also informed students about the BRASS candlelight vigil on Oct. 19, at First Christian Church on State Street, to remember the victims lost to domestic violence. The vigil will start at 6 p.m.

The program continued with a performance of three dancers, set to “Arms of an Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, as well as a monologue from an unknown author, read by Robin Baldwin, of Standing Stone Ministries.

The final presenter of the evening was Jenny Neville, of Hope Harbor. Neville spoke briefly about her experience dealing with women affected by abuse, and her own experiences.

Neville shared ways for students to be a “green dot,” a person who stops abuse in public places. These tactics included speaking up in situations where someone is being taken advantage of or openly abused, or finding help from someone more authoritative. Neville pleaded with students to make it personal.

“Picture someone you love,” she said. “Now picture that person getting hurt.”

Neville said students do have a voice and can do their part to reduce violence. She said that reducing violence will require a culture change, and challenged students to start that change.

“Look at a picture of yourself from first grade,” she said. “Now look at what you’re wearing. That’s change, isn’t it? So we can change this.”