By: Cullen McIntyre, Sports Editor
On October 5th, USM athletics hosted Domestic Violence Awareness games.
The Department of Athletics and Campus Safety Project collaborated to bring awareness to the issues of domestic, dating, and relationship violence and abuse.
Student-athletes, as well as those attending games, took part by wearing purple to the games hosted by the Women’s Soccer and Volleyball teams.
This was the second year in a row of the collaboration between the Department of Athletics and the Campus Safety Project to raise awareness.
The games marked the beginning of the month of events by the Campus Safety Project during Domestic Violence Awareness month.
The Campus Safety Project was present at Hannaford Field and Hill Gymnasium during the games, handing out educational material as well as raising awareness of issues regarding healthy relationships and sexual assault.
Devon Mulligan, the Program Coordinator for USM’s Campus Safety project, spoke about the importance of bringing awareness to this topic, “As a community, we have to be willing to talk about dating and domestic violence; awareness and dialogue are key to change,” he said. “We are happy to continue to work with these student leaders in keeping the conversation going. We are thankful to have coaches and student-athletes invested in making our school and community safer, and using their platform to raise awareness to a critical issue.”
Domestic, dating, and relationship violence is defined as “any physical, emotional, or other forms of abuse against an intimate partner or family member. This could mean isolation, bullying, sexual assault or coercion, economic control and abuse, frightening jealousy, or stalking behaviors, online or in person,” according to a graphic on the USM athletics page.
According to the domestic violence statistics in the graph: 58% of college students say they don’t know what to do to help someone who is a victim of dating abuse, one in four LGBTQ college students in one study reported dating violence in their current relationship, and 24 people per minute experience rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.
That is more than 12 million a year. By bringing awareness through athletics on campus, the students and the community will become more educated about domestic violence in their community and how to help.
The matches on October 5th were a part of a weekend initiative, as teams that competed on the road also wore a purple item during their games. From October 6th-7th, the Golf team hosted the annual USM Fall Classic at Gorham Country Club where they wore purple towels to participate in the event.
Athletic Director Al Bean spoke about the collaboration with the Campus Safety Project and domestic violence awareness, “Relationship violence in any form has no place in our society, and it is something we should all diligently work towards eliminating,” he said. “Hosting the Campus Safety Project at our home contests and having our student-athletes wear purple is a simple but effective way to raise awareness to the serious issue of domestic violence in our society, and the devastating effects that it has on survivors and family members.”