By the loveisrespect National Youth Advisory Board
Being a college student opens you up to many new opportunities. You might meet new people from all over the world, learn from experts in the field and share new knowledge with others. Your campus is the perfect place to start building a culture of healthy relationships, and we have the information you need to make that happen during Domestic Violence Awareness Month and beyond!
Find a Campus Group
There are often many student groups on campus, some of which focus on creating healthy relationships, preventing unhealthy relationships, or working with people who have experienced sexual assault or some form of domestic/dating violence. You can also find groups that focus on social justice, or you can visit the women’s centers. These groups may already have activities planned for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. But if they don’t, they are the groups that would be most interested in getting involved!
If you join a group that doesn’t have plans for DVAM, suggest things like:
CONSENT IS HOT Cup Sleeves
For a lot of people in college, getting coffee from a local place is part of the daily routine. You can make awareness of domestic violence a part of that routine by asking the local coffee shops to consider putting a healthy relationships design on their cup sleeves (see an example here!). If your club/organization has funding, we suggest buying some and just delivering them.
Purple is the awareness color for domestic violence. Use the color purple to raise awareness about DVAM and about domestic violence as a serious issue. If your campus has colored fountains or uses colored lighting, see if you can get campus staff to change the color to purple for the month. You can also encourage students and staff to wear purple on Oct. 20, National Wear Purple Day! Be sure to post your pics on social media using the hashtag #PurpleThursday.
Do Your Own Thing
If you feel that the groups on campus are not doing enough, or if you want to do even more, there are many other ways that you can raise awareness and make a difference all on your own.
Raising awareness can be as easy as starting a conversation about healthy relationships. Begin a discussion by asking people to talk about the things they want in a partner, as well as the things they don’t want. This can be in a casual setting with friends, a planned event with food and drinks, or be a formal conversation with anyone who wants to come. Use loveisrespect as a resource to talk about what’s healthy in a relationship and what’s not. Getting people talking about healthy relationships is a great way to prevent abuse!
It can be tough to reach everyone on your college campus with one message. Convincing people to wear purple might seem impossible. However, by buying some yarn and wrapping it around people’s wrists, spreading the message becomes a lot easier. You don’t have to give a speech every time that you give someone yarn, but often, people will ask you why you are doing it. Then someone later in the day will see that person and ask why they are wearing it. Eventually, it can reach the whole campus and raise awareness on a bigger scale!
Go Old School with Flyers
Most college campuses have dorms or residential halls where the majority of the student population lives. If you are looking to reach a lot of people in a small amount of time, dorms are great places to start. Create flyers for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and distribute them by sliding them under people’s doors or posting them on community boards or in the halls (as long as you have permission to do so). You can make flyers to publicize a DVAM event, encourage people to wear purple or to just provide information and resources on domestic and dating abuse. Get your friends involved to make it even more fun!
How are you raising awareness during DVAM? Share with us in the comments!