When Love Hurts

Ahoy Corsairs, shortly before spring, a number of organizations came together to host the When Love Hurts event. Having arrived early with one of the speakers, I got to see first-hand all the work and organization that goes into these events. A lot of energy goes into each event and it is always great to see a large turnout. So as always, thank you to those who came, and for those who could not, here’s the recap:


Hosted in the Woodland Commons, off the main hall, you walk into a spacious room where a projector displayed a simple PowerPoint colored in hues of red and pink. A panel of staff and officials were seated just below. The audience was made up of chairs, each covered by a packet of follow-along notes and even an emotion wheel. Additionally the chairs held a lip balm, index card and interactive pamphlet about dating violence that held links and phone numbers for further assistance. The first item addressed by the moderator was the index card, put there as a means of discreetly submitting any question you might have at the end of the panel


The moderator who would introduce each one of the speakers by name and title, before surrendering the stand to the first speaker. Ltn. John Sousa, an eighteen year veteran of the campus police force gave a legal definition of abuse as well as a bit about police procedures in such cases that it is reported.


Next up was Rebecca Arruda, a staff member at the local women’s center and part of the outreach program. She addressed the cycle of violence and another definition of an abusive relationship. She was then followed by Johonna Hobin, the Coordinator of Residential Community Standards on campus, covered protective and possessive natures. A powerful video was played to provide a visual and graphic display of relationship violence.


Resident director and PhD student, Latoya Peterson, spoke next about loyalty and the difference between cooperative relationships and coercive, ending with a small joke about online dating and the oddities that sometimes ensue with it. Playing onto that same joke with a sly introduction was on-campus counselor Dr. Chris Frazer, who provided an important definition, that of a healthy relationship. Being a counselor he was able to give genuine advice as well as the fundamentals to creating a healthy relationship by asking us to picture an ideal relationship than ask where the ideology comes from. He went on to also offer other bits of great advice no one should be without such as how to actively listen by repeating back in your own words what your partner has said, or in the case of withholding a topic of discussion for a later time to say “Later at …” not just “Later”. He commented on the prior topics as well with a simple analogy that trust does not equal to knowing.


After Dr. Frazer was our own Dr. Juli Parker who covered bystander intervention and how to help someone else who is in an abusive relationship by recognizing the signs and responding by listening, validating, and assuring the victim is in no way to blame. Offering tactics like “direct,” “distract,” and “delegate” Juli kept it short and to the point before passing the floor to Ashley Bendiksen, who told her own story of abuse.  She stated that anyone can become a victim of abuse. Her story was impactful and showed all the signs spoken of by the other panelists.


When the last speaker ended, the floor was opened to questions, receiving any writing on the index card allowing the audience to speak individually to any of the speakers.


This was actually one of the better events I had attended as far as educational value, the high point being Dr. Fraser’s examples on relationship communication as they are applicable to most situations.


Many of the panelists worked off one another, tying it all together quite well rather than just waiting to state their own portion disjointedly. The low point was the center portion where the moderator took the stand as it was rather long and difficult to pay attention to due to a lack of disparity and fluctuation in tone. Overall it was a highly educational event with many good and even powerful points made.

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