Talking the talk and walking the walk: Centre IFC confronts domestic violence
While no one would argue that domestic violence is an important issue, fewer people would actually do something to actively confront it. This past week, however, the men of Centre’s Interfraternal Council (IFC) directly engaged with Domestic Violence Awareness Month—both with their words and their actions.
The first IFC-sponsored event was Walk A Mile In Her Shoes, a program designed to raise awareness about domestic abuse by walking a mile across campus and through downtown Danville—all while wearing fire-engine-red high heel shoes. Over 100 students participated in this year’s walk, with 50 Centre men walking, hobbling and even strutting in their bright red footwear. Lining the walk, supportive fans cheered them on.
Connor Stubbs ’14, executive vice president of the Interfraternal Council, says, “The support from Centre’s sorority women was really impressive and meaningful. Lining the walk path were countless sorority women and other Centre students giving words of encouragement and support.”
In addition to the weekend Walk A Mile event, Centre IFC hosted “Power-Based Violence: a Panel Discussion” on Tuesday, October 8. The Panel, mediated by Stubbs, provided an opportunity for Centre students to discuss various types of violence with a panel of experts.
Panel members included Laken Gilbert, a sexual assault/rape survivor and current student at University of Kentucky Law School; Eileen Recktenwald, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP); Melanie Matson, director of the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP) at the University of Kentucky; and Centre College’s own Kathy Miles, director of counseling.
For Stubbs, the week’s events served as an important reminder of issues that still need addressing, both on college campuses and in larger communities.
“A huge issue with power-based violence—domestic violence, sexual abuse and gender violence—is the lack of awareness and knowledge about its prevalence and impact, especially on college campuses,” he says. “Frequently on college campuses, and in any community for that matter, there is almost an attitude that it doesn’t happen ‘here’ or ‘around me.’
“The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event and the power-based violence panel discussion hopefully changed that perception,” he adds, “and brought some recognition to the issue among students. A little recognition and awareness can really go a long way to help.”
By Mariel Smith