Angela Alfano Staff Writer
LIU Post’s Social Work Department hosted the second annual Family and Domestic Violence Conference in Hillwood Commons. The daylong event was made up of several workshops and presentations where speakers educated the audience on domestic violence and other forms of aggression as well as other risks and steps one can take to prevent an assault.
Michelle Garcia, the director of the Stalking Resource Center in Washington D.C., shared facts, sta- tistics and signs of stalking. Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed toward a specific person that may cause a person to be fearful.
Some of the facts on stalking from the National Institution of Justice Centers for Disease Con- trol and Prevention include: over one million Americans are stalked each year, those aged from 18 to 24 experience the highest rate of stalking and the rates on a college campus are higher. Also, the majority of victims know their stalker. The most common stalking behavior is unwanted phone calls and/or messages, at 66 percent over all other forms. Almost all stalking via technology is through the use of cell phones at almost 80 percent.
The Keynote Speaker was Ted Bunch, co-founder and co-director of A Call to Men, an organization that works to create a world where all men and boys are loving and respectful and all women and girls are valued and safe, according to the website.
Bunch spoke about daily dangers women face on the street, as well as domestic violence against women. Bunch is recognized both nationally and internationally for his skill in educating men in the effort of creating a healthier and more respectful manhood. Bunch is dedicated to ending all forms of violence and decimation against women.
Bunch shared facts and statis- tics about assault with the audience. Bunch states that women often defend themselves in ways men would never have to think about. When Bunch asked the audience how they protect them- selves, one woman said, “When I’m leaving work at night and I am alone, I put my keys in between my knuckles; in case someone comes behind me and tries to attacks me, I can defend myself.”
Bunch also shared a story of one woman’s safety measure. This woman would lock herself out as she brought the garbage to the trash, and unlock the door when she was finished so no one would sneak into her house. Bunch then asked the men how many of them have ever thought to do such a thing when they are alone; none of the men in the audience raised their hand.
Domestic violence is the number one health risk for women, according to Bunch’s research. Bunch showed a video interview that A Call to Men conducted. Ten men were interviewed and asked what they would do if they witnessed a man hit his girlfriend. All of the men said “Mind my own business.” Some even said, “She may have had it coming.” When the same men were asked what they would do if it was a stranger hitting a woman he did not know, they responded with, “Then maybe I’d do something.” Bunch said that this is because women are viewed as “property.”
Ashley Walsh, a sophomore Computer Science major, attended this year’s event and was very surprised by the lecture. “Originally, I only attended this conference as extra credit for my sociology class. However, after seeing the various workshops and presentation, I was actually interested and alarmed by the statistics and facts,” Walsh stated.
Organizations such as A Call to Men work in fighting off all dangerous risks towards women by bringing awareness to the issue of domestic violence and various forms of assault.
For free and confidential services, call the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Vio- lence at 516- 542- 0404.
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