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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Silent Witnesses Speak Volumes

By a conservative estimate, one million women in America are touched by domestic violence each year. In an effort to raise awareness of this epidemic and reduce or prevent future incidences of domestic violence, communities across the country observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. UMass Boston observed Domestic Violence Awareness Month on October 25 by exhibiting Silent Witnesses in the catwalk between the Quinn Administration Building and the Healey Library and holding an informational luncheon.Donna Durfee, Health Education Coordinator and a coordinator of UMB’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month events, beamed, “I am so happy because of the way things turned out today. Domestic violence is no longer something we hide from or are ashamed of anymore.”A domestic violence survivor herself, Durfee explained that the luncheon turnout and interest in the Silent Witnesses were impressive. She stated, “Twenty years ago, you were lucky to find an domestic violence victims’ shelter, much less hold events like this and receive such support for them. A lot of my strength in surviving what happened to me came from my peers, so maybe this will help someone else to take the first step in surviving what has happened to them.”Reflecting the wide scope of domestic violence and resources were the speakers at the luncheon. Chancellor Jo-Ann Gora gave the opening remarks, followed by Deirdre Kennedy, Dorchester District Court’s Judicial Oversight Demonstration Project director, Claire Molina, a public safety officer and Rape Aggression Defense training coordinator, Nancy Carolyn Kwant, Public information campaign director of Peace at Home, and Kathleen Potter, coordinator of the day’s events, public safety officer, and domestic violence detective. Packets were distributed, containing information on domestic violence, statistics, and victim resources. Durfee expressed that the events observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month were “large scale” beginnings of her yearlong goal to maintain awareness of this social issue. “I want to put information and resource packets out in front of my office so that people who need the information can just take it without asking for it or feeling that they have to explain themselves to a stranger. However, I am more than willing to talk with anyone who wants someone to talk to who understands,” she said.Victims feel very isolated by the abuse that they experience, and no one can understand what it is like to be abused unless they have been through it themselves, Durfee explained. She detailed that it is very difficult to tell someone that you are being battered, so by making information available to people in a way that they will not have to ask for it, she hopes to help more victims.”I hope to form a committee to come up with more ways to maintain awareness and get information and resources out to people throughout the year. We could organize programs like workshops and staff training. Small presentations go a long way,” Durfee said, adding that she will continue working with the Women’s Center to cover more areas of domestic violence, such as drugs, alcohol, and dating violence. Durfee concluded, stating, “Thanks to the strong support of University Health Services and today’s strong turnout, I will be able to continue raising and maintaining awareness of domestic violence at UMB with other projects.”