UVA Students Participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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A group of University of Virginia students did their part to stop the spread of domestic violence on October 11.

They reached out especially to doctors and other health experts to look for the signs of this sometimes deadly abuse.

Students from gender violence and social justice class handed out purple ribbons and fliers inside of the Elson student health center as part of the national "health cares about domestic violence day." 

The event encourages healthcare providers to learn more about the long term effects of relationship violence and its link to health problems, like eating disorders, smoking and substance abuse. 

The students coordinated the efforts with the help of Charlottesville’s Shelter for Help in Emergency, better known as SHE, which provides services to victims of domestic violence.

“One in 4 women experience intimate partner violence or domestic violence, and it's something that we're out trying to raise awareness for medical providers to have a better understanding of their victims that may come in with physical signs of bruising or injuries, even in emergency rooms, and they're never asked, if they feel safe at home and things like that, so we're here to try to kind of spread the message," said Courtney Haywood, UVA student. 

"There are always more people who might need to know about our services, and I think students might feel sometimes disconnected from the Charlottesville community. So, it's always helpful for us to be present and to bridge that gap between the two communities," said Rachael Silver, Coordinator for SHE. 

The students believe the event was a success and the group got almost every doctor and nurse to wear a purple ribbon.

The Shelter for Help in Emergency will also be holding a brown bag lunch series every Wednesday during the month of October to highlight specific issues faced by domestic violence victims and their children.