Light shed on ‘invisible scars’

By Brian Guttman

Students took part in a discussion about sexual assault and domestic violence Wednesday.

The event, called Invisible Scars, was hosted by the LGBT Resource Center as part of LGBTQ History month and Domestic Violence Awareness month. Invisible Scars was held in the Holmes Student Center’s Illinois Room.

“Domestic violence and sexual assault is something that happens to all types of relationships, and it’s not just something that happens in heterosexual relationships,” said Emily Tudor, student worker in the LGBT Resource Center.

The panel featured speakers from the Family Therapy Clinic and the Women’s Resource Center, and Tudor spoke on behalf of the LGBT Resource Center. Each person on the panel addressed victim blame, and then the discussion was opened up to the audience.

“I like these intimate settings where we can have a real conversation about it,” said Shana Stringfellow, coordinator of Victim Advocacy Services.

The discussion explored the economic and psychological factors that contribute to why domestic violence and sexual assault may go unreported. One of the areas discussed was the discrimination abuse victims of LGBT relationships may undergo when reporting crime.

“There are very unique barriers [that] make it difficult to report this in certain other communities,” Tudor said.

The panel also discussed resources available for victims of abuse and offered attendees advice on how to console victims, including positive coping strategies.

“There’s a lot of resources here that you wouldn’t think about until you’re in certain situations and things like that, but it’s nice to know that so many people are there to help,” said Emily Norton, junior textiles and apparel merchandising major.

The panel said friends should respect a victim’s right to report the crime when the time is right, but they emphasized that as a victim the first step in healing is telling someone.

Victim Advocacy will paint pinky nails red and give out buttons on campus to raise awareness for domestic violence throughout October.

“That’s what this session was all about, was education, spreading awareness,” said Samantha Williams, junior Community leadership and civic engagement major.