VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Valdosta State University (VSU) partnered with the Haven for its purple ribbon campaign.
“It’s just a lot of things that go on behind doors and no one really talks about or have a voice for. I feel like this can also help bring awareness to that,” said Aysia Williams.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in every five college women have been sexually assaulted.
“I feel like a lot of people, well not a lot of people, but people who experience this should have a safe place and a safe area where they can talk to someone about it and I feel like this is promoting that and I think its a great idea that we’re doing this on campus,” said Tanithia Laney.
Williams and Tanithia Laney are both freshmen at VSU.
They said bringing awareness to a college campus is very important and can help many.
Along the pedestrian walkway, art installations in the form of different outfits with notes from university students and the clothes' back story can be found.
“Sexual assault can affect anyone wearing anything. It doesn’t have to be anything skimpy. It could be working, it can be jogging, going to the store. It can happen anywhere to anyone, no matter what you’re wearing," said Ashley Rhys, a therapist at the Haven.
Rhys said domestic violence calls have increased 25 percent since July.
Crisis calls have increased to about 30 percent.
Kiarah Woodard is the shelter advocate at the center.
She said it can be challenging for a college student to realize they are in a bad situation.
A lot of the times, Woodard pointed out, it gets overlooked because they don’t see how dangerous it can turn.
“A lot of times, it gets written off as a toxic relationship, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s an actual crime. Domestic violence and sexual assault is very prominent and I feel like a lot of times, when we think about this, we think about older people, we think about it in a more dramatic movie cinematic type of way, but they are affected by it as well,” said Woodard.
Rhys and Woodard encourage anyone who needs help to reach out.
Whether they need advice, therapy, a sexual assault kit or simply if there’s someone stalking you — just reach out.
VSU will host different projects throughout the week to continue to raise awareness.