With activities ranging from painting rocks purple to singing along with a cappella groups, the Crime Victims Assistance Center held its annual Paint the Town Purple event at the Peacemaker’s Stage in Downtown Binghamton on Friday night in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Haley Murphy, ‘14, campus sexual assault liaison for the Crime Victims Assistance Center, said domestic violence is an issue that is often considered taboo.
“A lot of people don’t talk about it,” Murphy said. “They don’t know how big of an issue it is. We want to show Binghamton that [domestic violence] does happen and show it in a positive way so that more people can talk about it.”
Crime Victims Assistance Center staffers read statistics on domestic violence throughout the event; more than 60 percent of gay or bisexual men and lesbian or bisexual women will be emotionally or physically abused by their partners, according to the center’s statistics.
Betty Czitrom, ‘16, victim liaison and advocate the Crime Victims Assistance Center, said domestic violence rates have steadily increased for the past 30 years, but many people are still unaware of the issue and the resources available for victims.
“We want to see more people in the community know about this issue and talk about it,” Czitrom said. “Know our phone number and have materials to educate themselves in case they or a friend need help. We want to tell them about all of the resources we have.”
Stephanie Milks, senior assistant of the Broome County District Attorney’s Office, said it was her office’s job to ensure that cases of domestic violence be treated seriously.
“We take a hard stance on domestic abuse and violence crimes,” Milks said. “We have many resources readily available for anyone and everyone.”
Liana Kaplan, a counselor and advocate at A New Hope Center, a comprehensive domestic violence center in Owego, said her center facilitates many services for families and survivors of domestic abuse, including supervised visitation programs for parents who don’t have custody of their children.
“The experience of a survivor and the impact that domestic abuse has on them is so fragile and important,” Kaplan said. “Here we focus on resources for every survivor in any household.”
Binghamton University student organizations were also present, including the Women’s Student Union (WSU), the Omega Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated and the Latino Greek Council.
Sara Hobler, the senior adviser of WSU and a senior double-majoring in history and sociology, said her organization took part to form closer ties with the Binghamton area community.
“We want to take a national, international approach to feminism without being in the bubble of the University,” Hobler said. “Domestic violence is a key and core issue. It would be remiss if we were not here.”
Rosemary Espinal, a member Omega Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated and a senior majoring in English, said her sorority focuses on raising awareness of violence against women and it was important for them and the Latino Greek Council to participate and get to know the community.
“In Binghamton, the population that experience domestic violence is extremely high, and it is important for students of Binghamton to engage in this issue because it is a universal problem,” Espinal said.
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