CARE Caps Off the Month

UC Irvine’s Campus Assault Resources and Education (CARE) office held its first ever rally to cap off Domestic Violence Awareness month. CARE’s two peer education groups, CHAMPS (Challenging All Men to Prevent Sexism) and Right to KNOW, CARE’s female peer education group, co-hosted the rally at the Student Center stage[TL1] on Friday, Oct. 29 at noon.

“For CHAMPS, we try to raise awareness through workshops and presentations,” Howard Hsu, a member of CHAMPS, said. “[Domestic violence] happens to people in relationships in general. In college, we’re fresh, we want to educate people on what is a healthy relationship versus what’s an unhealthy one.”

The CARE office hosts Domestic Violence Awareness month each year at UCI to try and educate the student body about the dangers and prevalence of domestic violence.

“We’re being more organized and we’re looking forward to a new year,” said Hsu. “We’re going to be more involved on campus, so look out for us.”

As noon approached, the representatives from CHAMPS and Right to KNOW began setting up the stage for their rally. Posters for the CARE office, CHAMPS and Right to KNOW were also set up. A large poster was placed in the middle of the stage behind the podium with a purple ribbon hand drawn along with the words: strength, resilience, happiness, health, harmony, growth, treasure, love, courage, protect, hope.

“You might be wondering why we’re here,” said Jessie Corral, as she began the rally at 12:05 p.m. with her co-coordinator of Right to KNOW, Tiffanie Rehaume. “This is Domestic Violence Awareness month and we’re here as a resource for everyone. October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness month since 1987, but we still have a long way to go.”

After a short opening statement, Corral and Rehaume opened the stage to Matthew Bosnoyan, a veteran of CHAMPS. He performed a set of three songs on his acoustic guitar as students and visitors on campus tours walked through the student center.

“[CHAMPS] are the male allies to Right to KNOW,” Bosnoyan said. “We believe that men have the potential and the responsibility to stop this.”

After Bosnoyan’s performance, Corral and Rehaume continued their presentation, citing statistics about domestic violence such as its three stages: honeymoon, tension building and the blow up. Intimate partner violence is the number one cause of injury to U.S. women ages 15-44 –which is more than car accidents, mugging and stranger rapes combined. Of the women murdered each year in the U.S., 30 percent are killed by a current or former husband or boyfriend. Eighty percent [TL2] of rapes or sexual assaults are committed by someone who is known and trusted. Women who leave abusers have a 75 percent greater chance of being killed by the abuser than those who stay.

Rehaume spoke out to the students seated in the Student Center, imploring them to be the positive force that empowers women to leave abusive relationships. “Help them to identify the abuse,” she said. “Tell them that what you see is concerning you. If someone comes to you with problems of domestic violence, you should listen. Make sure you’re aware of your resources. CARE is huge. Really note, if you see something that’s not right, don’t be afraid to be a positive bystander.”

The rally also featured collection boxes for the Hopeline Drive in which the CARE office partnered with Verizon Wireless, collecting old cell phones throughout October. The cell phones will be donated to battered women shelters or, if they are unusable, they will be recycled and the proceeds will be donated to the shelters. CARE started off with 30 boxes for the drive and got more once they were filled. Although the exact number of phones has not yet been tallied, Rehaume estimates that they collected “in the hundreds of phones.”

Though Domestic Violence Awareness month has drawn to an end, the CARE office will be busy throughout the year, serving students, faculty and staff should they have a need for their services such as counseling, consultations and workshops. Right to KNOW will host workshops and their outreach programs “Take Back the Night” and “The Clothesline Project.” CHAMPS will continue their partnership with Right to KNOW, assisting them with their campus-wide events and holding education workshops.

Before the rally ended, five members of the Uncultivated Rabbits performed spoken word pieces. Brandon Melendez performed a piece titled “Death Proof,” saying, “We’re here to carry each other up.”