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Take a stand against unhealthy relationships: Screenings, awareness events in October help break the cycle of violence
Debbie Epping
Antelope Staff
Purple Tie Day
Photo by Debbie Epping
Becca Geidel

Violence has no boundaries.

It affects people in every socio-economic status, religion, age group, gender and type of relationship, said Nikki Gausman, executive director of the Spouse/Sexual Abuse Family Education (S.A.F.E.) Center.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and its purpose is to provide support for victims of abuse and raise awareness so people can come together to help end domestic violence, Gausman said.

Linda Shaw, Women’s Center advisor and counselor at UNK, said the Women’s Center is coordinating with the S.A.F.E. Center in an effort to get involved with the community.
The Women’s Center sent out healthy relationship screenings to students and passed them out in the student union yesterday.

“Sometimes students get stuck in a relationship and don’t know what to do and don’t really know if it’s healthy or not,” Shaw said.

Shaw encourages students to seek help and information about what constitutes a healthy relationship.

The Women’s Center offers relationship advice to those who want to work on relationships and not necessarily just unhealthy or romantic relationships.

“Maybe you’re in a good relationship and you want it to grow and be stronger,” Shaw said. “I think that’s very exciting for people to have the opportunity to find out where they’re at with parents, siblings, friends and partners.”

Dr. Julie Campbell’s victimology class and the UNK women’s basketball team are working together with the S.A.F.E. Center to get people involved in the S.A.F.E. Center’s Step Out Against Violence Walk Oct. 11.

Becca Geidel, a sophomore from Clarks, who is leaning toward a major in criminal justice, said the walk provides an opportunity for people to come together and show they don’t want these things happening in our society.

“I think it’s such a good cause,” Geidel said. “We’re reaching out to people who are still being victimized and to those who might not have come forward yet.”

Geidel said she and her classmates in the victimology class will be helping with registration and will have signs and different things along the trail to help impact people along the walk.

“It’s a great event to show support for ending domestic violence, listen to survivors and learn what individuals can do to help end domestic violence,” Gausman said.

People can register up until the day of the event for $10.

“I think it’s so important, because people don’t want to believe it can happen to them, so they aren’t careful and don’t always take certain precautions,” Geidel said.

The event is 6-9 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Kearney Holiday Inn and will include a five-kilometer walk and music by the OK Sisters.

This year the S.A.F.E. Center is also promoting Purple Tie Tuesday on Oct. 26.

“It’s wearing a purple tie to show support for ending domestic violence,” Gausman said.

“We really hope people will be more aware that there are families and individuals who are living with violence, and it takes all of us to step up and make a difference,” Gausman said.

The S.A.F.E. Center has services available 24/7 for anyone who has experienced domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault or dating violence.

The S.A.F.E. Center has a confidential crisis line available for victims and also to provide information for family members, friends, coworkers or anyone who needs information or help dealing with a situation.

“We encourage people to call toll-free 877-237-2513 or stop at our office at 3710 Central Ave. if they need assistance,” Gausman said. “We have a lot of resources here that we can share.”

If people don’t feel comfortable calling a local number, they can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

In addition to the hotline, the S.A.F.E. Center has a shelter available for people who might need to flee an abusive relationship or just have a safe place to stay.

For more information, visit www.safecenter.org or check out the S.A.F.E. Center on Facebook.

“We have a lot of services, but I think the most important thing for people to know, is we are here to provide information, options and support,” Gausman said.

Counseling and support groups are also available right here at UNK.

“I always offer a sexual assault support group through the Women’s Center if there is a need,” Shaw said. “If a person isn’t comfortable with a group then we can do an individual session.”

For more information, or if you are interested in being a part of a sexual assault support group, contact the Women’s Center at womenscenter.unk.edu or call 308-865-8279.
“This is an issue that affects all of us,” Gausman said.



"Purple Tie Tuesday."
Oct. 26
Wear a purple tie to show support for ending domestic violence.



Are your relationships healthy? Take the healthy relationship screening test sent to your LoperMail on Oct. 5 by UNK Counseling and the Women’s Center, and find out your score online. Talk to a counselor at the Women’s Center in the Memorial Student Affairs Building, Room 158, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday about what your score means.

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