Safe Passage reaches to those in need

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Safe Passage reaches to those in need

Kyra Johnson

DeKALB — Lynnea Erickson Laskowski, director of prevention in communication and Kendal Baker, marketing and communication specialist of Safe Passage held Got a Minute?, which was a community services for dating violence event held Oct. 24 in Founders Memorial Library in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Erickson Laskowski opened the presentation by making clear of what domestic violence is and how Safe Passage addresses domestic violence within the DeKalb community and what resources are available, especially for college students. She broke down how domestic violence is much more than physical mistreatment; it is also verbal, mental, emotional, sexual, financial and environmental abuse. She also touched on the basics of domestic violence, what red flags to look for and how to help a friend or yourself.

Safe Passage is known for its safe housing shelter for people who are in abusive relationships and need a safe place to stay. It is also available to people regardless of gender and has a variety of resources ranging from consulting services, legal advocacy, prevention services, offender intervention and more.

Safe Passage provides a partner abuse intervention program, which helps to aid people who have been victims and their perpetrators to understand the cycle of violence. All services are free to anyone who needs them, are completely confidential and provide resources to anyone regardless of documentation status.

If someone is a victim of a violent crime on campus and is worried or unaware of how to handle it, Safe Passage fully understands and respects everyone’s decisions and will help you with your decision-making process. Further into the discussion, Laskowski opens the discussion of domestic violence in LGBTQIA+ relationships. She said there is no race, gender, class or sexuality that defines who experiences domestic violence.

“In LGBTQIA+ relationships, there are more unique barriers that people within that community face,”Erikson Laskowski said.

For example, Domestic violence is shown in LGBTQIA+ relationships through abusive partners threatening to out their partner as a tool of control. Also, people have a fear of reaching out to law enforcements due to fear of police, particularly transgender people and transgender people of color.

Laskowski said that this is because it is not always a safe option, especially when dealing with people who do not understand what transgender people go through or are not educated on how to talk with someone who is transgender in terms of navigating personal pronouns, gender identity and more.

Safe Passage has a program that both Erikson Laskowski and Baker are part of that works with most DeKalb county schools on Erin’s Law, a law that requires all public schools in Illinois to require sexual abuse prevention to educate children on personal body safety, what to do if you were sexually assaulted and to understand some signs of abuse.