Penn State Scranton brings reality of domestic violence to light

Nuris Perdomo mans a table with information and takeaway items at the Domestic Violence awareness event at Penn State Scranton.

Nuris Perdomo, teen advocate for the Women's Resource Center in Scranton, had information and takeaway items at the Domestic Violence awareness event at Penn State Scranton. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Credit: Amy Gruzesky

DUNMORE, Pa. — Penn State Scranton’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion commemorated Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a simulated rendering of normal household rooms that often become a place where domestic abuse occurs.

On Thursday, Oct. 21, the Sherbine Lounge in the campus’ Study Learning Center had different areas transformed into a living room, kitchen and bedroom, along with an informational component at each one on how domestic violence manifests in a home environment.

Domestic violence is defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Julia Egan shared facts and information as well as personal experiences with those who came to the event, and a representative from the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) in Scranton was on hand to provide information on domestic violence, including statistics and facts; types of aggression — be it physical or psychological; helpful tips on how help yourself when in an abusive relationship; and a list of resources and services available to those who find themselves in an abusive situation.

“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We think that it is very important to participate in awareness events,” said Nuris Perdomo, teen advocate for the WRC. “We want local college students and staff to be not only aware of domestic violence, but also aware of the resources that are available to them if they are experiencing domestic violence.”

Campus Counselor Kathy Stefanelli was also available to anyone who attended if they needed to talk to someone about any emotions or situations that may have been triggered by the information and situations being presented or needed emotional support.

Stefanelli is a full-time counselor at the campus and available to any student or staff who may need any type of emotional, mental or well-being assistance throughout the academic year. Her office is in the Hawk Student Success Center in the lower level of the Study Learning Center.

It has been noted that 37.7% of Pennsylvania women and 27.5% of Pennsylvania men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.

In the United States, one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, and on a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls – an average of close to 15 calls every minute.

Anyone experiencing domestic violence is encouraged to reach out for help. At Penn State, you can go to this webpage for help and resources on a variety of victim/survivor issues; or you can call University Crisis Services 24/7 at: 1-877-229-6400. However, if you feel you are in immediate danger, you should call 9-1-1.

In addition to the informational and resource information presented, the event also featured some fun aspects, including games highlighting dating awareness, provided courtesy of the Jennifer Ann Foundation on Teen Dating Violence Awareness and a game, with a grand prize for the winner. 

The WRC also had a number of takeaways that were both practical and served as a reminder for domestic violence awareness and available resources.