Event spotlights domestic violence

Scary things happen on Halloween. Ghouls and monsters linger in the darkness, but a scarier threat lurking in the shadows is domestic violence.

The Educational Planning and Counseling Department at San Jacinto College Central Campus hosted a Halloween-themed Domestic Violence Awareness event Oct. 31 in the student center.

Counselor Eitandria Gatlin said the event aimed to bring attention to the issue, but also meant to highlight the resources available to victims.

“In honor of Domestic Violence Month, which is every October, we wanted to just put a spotlight on domestic violence and how it affects everyone on campus,” Gatlin said. “The event is an informational event, and since it’s on Halloween, we also thought of handing out candy and informational booklets and things like that.”

Dean of Student Development Dr. Deborah McGinty said she noticed a void existed at Central campus concerning this type of abuse when she assumed her position as dean.

“When I was a counselor at another campus, North Campus, I hosted an event with domestic violence awareness,” McGinty said. “That was a couple of years back, and I saw that there was a need for it, and it was something I wanted to do when I came here.”

“It exists. So, there is a need for awareness,” she said.

McGinty said she discussed launching the event with Gatlin, and they agreed it would benefit the Central campus community.

“I met with Eitandria and said this was something that was really great; bringing awareness to not just females, but males too,” Gatlin said. “I gave her some information, and she just ran with it; and it just so happened that it ties in with the whole month of October and Halloween theme. So, we tossed some ideas, and she came up with a great theme.”

However, Gatlin said talking to students about possible abuse is a difficult process that often makes them uncomfortable.

“We’re trying to have it as a non-intimidating event,” Gatlin said. “So, we’re not going to have police officers or anything like that. But, we do have resources from the Pasadena Police Department and brochures with free information in English and Spanish; so that students can feel comfortable coming and getting information not only for themselves, but for their friends and family members.”

Student Zachary Patterson said the event was informative and had a powerful effect on him.

“When they brought these posters here, we can actually see and read what’s going on because many people don’t know what domestic violence is, or what the dangers are,” Patterson said.

Meanwhile, student Whitney Haley said highlighting the problem as well as available options could be a catalyst for victims to make positive changes.

“It’s an excellent idea,” Haley said. “Maybe when people see that there’s other people who care, maybe people will be more inclined to get help; ‘cause you do need help getting out of a relationship like that.”