Vance-Granville Community College held educational programs for students on all four of its campuses in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The series of events kicked off on Oct. 16 at the college’s Warren County Campus. Special guests included Warren County Commissioner Tare Davis, who is also a state trooper with the N.C. Highway Patrol; Warren County native Dentis Shaw, founder of Honorband.org and an anti-violence activist; and Tamara Alston from Infinite Possibilities, Inc., a domestic violence organization that serves Vance and Warren counties. The keynote speaker was domestic violence survivor Christine Hewlin, author of Bruises of a Battered Woman. A Warren County resident, Hewlin is a graduate of the VGCC High School Equivalency program who took her classes at the Warren Campus.
VGCC’s Franklin County Campus hosted an event on Oct. 17 in partnership with Safe Space, a non-profit organization that works to reduce relationship violence in Franklin County and nearby communities. Both guests that day from Safe Space were also VGCC alumni: Detra Hunt, an Associate in Arts graduate who is now a social work student at N.C. Central University, and Rebecca Jester, another Associate in Arts graduate who went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is now pursuing a master’s degree at N.C. Central University. “Our message this month is that love should not hurt, love should heal,” Jester said. Pictures of purple shoes were placed in the hallways on the campus to represent domestic violence fatalities in North Carolina during the past year.
At the college's South Campus on Oct. 18, guest speakers hailed from both Infinite Possibilities and Families Living Violence Free (FLVF), Granville County’s domestic violence and rape crisis center. “I’m an advocate for victims as well as a survivor, so it makes me happy that VGCC is holding a program like this,” said Erin Hill from Infinite Possibilities. “We need more programs like this, more awareness and more discussions.” Kim Henley from FLVF added that it was important to reach “the best and brightest young minds” at the college. She said that 38.5% of victims with whom her organization works are between the ages of 13-17 and 11.4% are between the ages of 18-29, so the topic is of acute relevance to students. Peggy Roark from FLVF added, “The worst thing you can do as a victim, or on behalf of a victim, is not to say anything, so speak up. You can get help, and you're worth it.” The program reached its emotional crescendo when Granville Early College High School student Jessica Burney recited a dramatic poem, “I Got Flowers Today,” which tells a story from the perspective of a domestic violence victim.
The series of events concluded on Oct. 19 at VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. Representatives from both Infinite Possibilities and Families Living Violence Free were again on hand at this campus, as was Dentis Shaw. Vance County Early College High School student Khalil Gay presented a powerful spoken word performance of a piece called "Mosaic,” and grew emotional as he remembered his cousin, Shaekeya Gay, a victim of a domestic violence-related homicide. “Nobody should keep this quiet,” the student implored the audience.
Officers from the VGCC Campus Police Department participated in all four domestic violence events. Chief of Police Sean Newton said that students are welcome to call the campus police about violence, even if the incident happened to them off-campus. Also at these events, students were informed that the federal Title IX prohibits sexual harassment, which includes acts of sexual violence, as a form of sex discrimination on college campuses. The Title IX Coordinator for students at VGCC is Dean of Enrollment and Outreach Jeffrey Allen, who can be reached at email@example.com or (252) 738-3405.
VGCC Counselor Cathy Davis expressed her thanks to faculty and staff on all four campuses “for shining the light on this very sensitive and important topic and putting a face on domestic violence awareness.” She said the theme of the month was “Know my face: No more silence.”
Infinite Possibilities can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (252) 431-1926.
Safe Space can be reached at email@example.com or (919) 497-5444.
Families Living Violence Free can be reached at (919) 693–5700 (office), (919) 528–3579 (24-hour crisis line) or at flvf.org.
Above: VGCC/Granville Early College High School student Jessica Burney presents a poem, “I Got Flowers Today,” during the Domestic Violence Awareness Month event on the college’s South Campus. (VGCC photo)
Above: From left, author Christine Hewlin, VGCC Adult Basic Skills coordinator/instructor Edna Scott and Warren County Commissioner Tare Davis, who is also a state trooper with the N.C. Highway Patrol, greet one another at the domestic violence awareness program at VGCC’s Warren County Campus.
Above: VGCC Franklin Campus students talk with, seated from left, Safe Space representatives Detra Hunt and Rebecca Jester. (VGCC photo)
Above: VGCC/Vance County Early College High School student Khalil Gay, center, presents a spoken word performance of “Mosaic” during the Domestic Violence Awareness Month event on the college’s Main Campus. (VGCC photo)
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