VSU kicks off domestic violence campaign - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

VSU kicks off domestic violence campaign

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Hundreds of t-shirts are hanging on the campus of Valdosta State University, but it's not a college prank.

Those t-shirts are spreading an important message about domestic violence.

It's a message that's impossible to miss on the VSU campus. Hundreds of t-shirts are strung from trees all over campus, decorated with messages, some that are even difficult to read. It's a campaign to stop domestic violence and educate students about the abuse.

"I don't like to consider myself a victim I like to consider myself a survivor, and I think that's one of the reasons we want to make so much awareness, and make people realize you don't have to be a victim and stay a victim, you can survive and thrive," said Kathryn Norsworthy, student and campaign organizer.

Norsworthy was abused verbally by a loved one, but there any many forms of domestic violence.

"It's anyone that has any kind of a relationship, and is doing emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, so anything and everything that falls under that large umbrella," said Dr. Tracy Woodard-Meyers, Women's & Gender Studies Director.

The shirts were created by students and faculty members who were either domestic violence victims themselves or knew someone who was.

Dr. Meyers started the t-shirt campaign and says creating a shirt is not only a healing process for her but for everyone who opens up about their experience.

"I have experienced domestic violence myself, in my family, and personally. I'm a survivor of sexual assault and my mother was beaten by my father and he was going to shoot and kill all of us when I was six," said Meyers.

"It was not only physical, but it was verbal and metal abuse, and you carry the pain with you, the marks will go away but the pain doesn't," said victim Dorothy Nickell with the Women's & Gender Studies program.

Nickell says until you realize you're a victim yourself, you will never get out of the abuse.

"A lot of women who are in this same situation go through the same thing, should I leave, should I stay, what should I do? You can get advice from people all day long but in the end its got to be your decision," said Nickell.

Many students say the outcry from this campaign has helped them see that domestic violence needs to stop.

Next week, students will pledge never to commit or condone domestic violence by cutting out their hand print and signing it for another display.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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