By Frances Clause
“Remember Me – Domestic Violence Fatalities” will honor victims and raise awareness about domestic violence in the atrium of Cushwa Hall from Oct. 22 through 29.
Monica Merrill, assistant professor of criminal justice, said people who attend the event will see 27 life-sized silhouettes, representing the victims killed by domestic violence in Northern Ohio this year.
“Some of these victims include pregnant women, children and police officers,” she said. “By representing the victims, this event hopes to humanize domestic violence and show that it is happening right in this area.”
Along with the silhouettes, students in the criminal justice and forensic science program have written short biographies about the victims that will be displayed in binders.
According to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, 91 people were killed in domestic violence-related incidents this year. Of the 91 people, 56 were victims and 35 were offenders who either killed themselves or were killed by police.
“Domestic violence is a crime that can occur in any age range,” Merrill said. “It is important for students to be able to identify healthy relationship practices and be aware of warning signs in their own relationships as well as their family’s and friends.”
She said being able to identify more than just physical abuse, including emotional abuse, financial abuse and psychological abuse, is key to preventing domestic violence.
Maisie Claypoole, a senior political science and criminal behavior major, said she feels there is always room for improvement with domestic violence awareness.
“In my opinion, [domestic violence] is a topic that people are afraid to talk about,” she said. “In the minds of some people, it does not directly affect them so they don’t think about it, but it is a major issue that is extremely underreported.”
Claypoole hopes students attend the event to understand what the victims went through before their deaths and encourage others to talk about what can be done to help those who have experienced domestic violence.
Monica Bartley, a graduate student, said many people only associate domestic violence with women, but the displays for the event prove children and men can be victims as well.
“This is an important event to attend because everyone needs to be educated on the statistics, harsh truths and outcomes of domestic violence,” she said. “Domestic violence is not just bruises and hurtful words.”
Bartley said she has learned the many sides of domestic violence by helping with this event, including brutal stories about victims of all ages, races and relationship types.
“These stories impact me because being in the criminal justice field, I see domestic violence happening all the time,” she said. “[Criminal justice majors] see just how it affects families and how it turns into a vicious cycle if children are subjected to seeing abuse at a young age.”
Throughout Domestic Violence Awareness Month, events across America are mourning those who have died from domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived and connecting people who work to put an end to the violence.
Remember Me – Domestic Violence Fatalities is sponsored by Youngstown State University’s Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, the YSU Melnick Medical Museum and the YSU Office of Student Activities.