Safety Week activities not only raised awareness, but presented a therapeutic experience, bringing past but not forgot- ten memories and thoughts to the surface.
Domestic violence awareness kicked off Safety Week. In honor of the day, students were given small purple ribbons to wear. The color purple represented bruises.
“Domestic violence occurs in many places,” said Akuse Harris, assistant director of housing. “The home, the school or work. Many students go through this and are not aware that there is help. You can get away from it. So we handed out pamphlets in hopes that they would be a good source for someone who is suffering from domestic violence.”
Standing strong with her purple ribbon neatly attached to her lanyard, TJC student who requested to remain anonymous for safety purposes expressed her feelings toward domestic violence.
“I’ve been in an abusive relationship in the past,” said the student “The relationship made me feel depressed and suicidal. I felt suicidal because I didn’t want to be in the situation anymore so I wanted to take myself out of it. Suicide was the best option because leaving is not as easy as people make it seem. I felt like he would come looking for me and I’d be right back in the situation with him again. I finally got out.
I told him that I was going out with my friends and never came back. He was looking everywhere for me and even called the cops. The cops couldn’t do anything about me leaving though. Eventually it all calmed down. I now have a new number and an restraining order against him.”
Sexual awareness day followed. Students were encouraged to speak out about encounters they’ve had with sexual violence. On this day, a young lady who is a former student of TJC and a victim of sexual assault heard about Sexual Awareness day and wanted to truly express her feelings.
“I was sexually abused on campus,” said a TJC student who requested to remain anonymous “I felt like everybody was against me. He was a soccer player and a lot of people liked him, so when I told, I felt alone, like the whole world had become the enemy. He was sent home and I was left to walk around the campus, feeling like I was labeled as the girl who sent the popular soccer player home. He sent his self home, no means no and he didn’t understand that. If I would have never told, he would have just walked around with no consequence to the pain he caused me. A lot of girls never tell because they don’t want to feel like I felt. Like the whole world is against them. It’s so good that they are encouraging people to speak out, and offering to reach out to people who have been victims of sexual violence. No one should have to feel like I did, which was alone.”
During Alcohol and Drug Awareness Day, students were seen outside of Rogers Students Center clumsily wobbling along a straight line with goggles on. Students were given the goggles to put on which would be a visual for them to see how everything appears when one is intoxicated. Although the day was filled with such a fun activity, students were given pamphlets to read about the consequences of being under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Women from MADD (Moms Against Drunk Driving) also came to help raise awareness to the student body.
“Drugs and alcohol are so popular these days,” said Shawna Smith, TJC student. “It’s like we never stop to really think that we may really hurt ourselves or even worse, someone else… someone innocent while under the influence.”
The last day of Safety Week was sex education. Students were given pamphlets on how to protect themselves and the importance of protection if deciding to engage in sexual activity.
“We need to learn to be more careful and thinking more before we just jump in the bed with someone,” said TJC student Lilian Ibokwe “We just go with what we see and not what is best for us. We all need to learn to dig beneath the surface of a person before even considering sexual relations. We would be saving ourselves a lot more heartache.”
“We put together this week to keep the students aware,” said Harris. “We were not trying to tell them something that was new. We just wanted to raise awareness on these subjects because are subjects that college students are likely to face. We were not trying to change the world this week, we were just hoping to make a difference in someone’s life.”