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IU and Bloomington offer services for domestic violence survivors


A purple flag sits among others in honor of End Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Oct. 14 in Dunn Meadow. The flags are a memorial for those who have suffered from domestic violence. Claire Livingston

One in three women and one in four men in the United States has experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The IU Office for Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy provides support for people who have experienced sexual assault, harassment and other threats to personal safety, according to its website. 

In order to spread awareness for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and its services, the office is sponsoring several events to bring attention to the epidemic of domestic violence and ways to prevent it. 

During the first week of October, 2,071 purple flags were placed in Dunn Meadow. This number represents the number of domestic violence survivors who seek services in a single day in Indiana. 

In reality, these numbers are most likely much higher because domestic violence is largely unreported, said Sally Thomas, associate director for sexual violence prevention and victim advocacy.

The office is also organizing a movie night, during which they will screen "Private Violence," a documentary depicting the reality of domestic violence and victim advocacy through the eyes of survivors, according to the movie’s website. This event will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 in Swain West 007. 

“In the U.S., home is the single most dangerous place for a woman,” said Gloria Steinem, political activist and executive producer of "Private Violence".

On top of events and exhibits focused on domestic violence awareness, the office runs annual programs to teach students about safe practices when it comes to alcohol and sexual relations.

Programs like It’s On Us: Alcohol and Consent showcase scenarios of sexual violence and always include examples of relationship and domestic violence. Behind survivors of sexual violence, Thomas said, survivors of dating or domestic violence are the largest group we represent. 

The office also offers services for survivors who want to remain anonymous. Staff members are available to listen and help survivors with police reports, safety concerns, emotional support and anything else they may need. But aren’t required to report to IU. 

In addition to IU resources, there is also support available for survivors in Bloomington. The Middle Way House is one of Bloomington’s largest resource networks for people who have experienced domestic violence, human trafficking or sexual violence. Middle Way offers emergency shelter, a 24-hour crisis line, housing solutions, legal advocacy, support groups, childcare and education programs.

Middle Way supports programs for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, including the Wrapped in Love project, letter writing campaigns and continued access to information for survivors. 

Middle Way will also be having its annual fall luncheon at 11 a.m. Oct. 25 at Ivy Tech Shreve Hall to recognize, Domestic Violence Awareness Month and RISE’s Youth Empowerment Services and Early Prevention Programs. These programs help youth build healthy relationships, according to the Middle Way House website. 

“We help survivors all year round and work with them until they feel safe,” Thomas said. 

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