‘Love Your Body, Love Your Partner,’ express yourself

“More than three women are murdered each day by an intimate partner in the U.S.,” Kari Osmond said at “Love your Body, Love your Partner” on Thursday, Oct. 19, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness (DVA) Week. Osmond, sophomore women’s and gender studies and political science major, was one of many students who planned the event, which was held in the Rathskellar.

As the capstone of DVA Week, the event featured “music, poetry, spoken word and other entertainment addressing the issues of respect, healthy relationships and body image.”

The performances focused on domestic violence and the importance of loving yourself.

To incorporate both domestic violence and body image into one cohesive event, the Office of Anti-Violence Initiatives (OAVI) and a host of student organizations sponsored “Love your Body, Love your Partner.”

Kait Boyle, senior sociology and women’s and gender studies major, coordinated the event. Performers, both male and female, stood in front of the large audience in an effort to speak their minds.

Boyle, also an OAVI intern and president of the National Organization of Women (NOW@TCNJ), wore a T-shirt that said “I Love my Body” as she and Amanda Sexton, secretary of Voices of Planned Parenthood (Vox) and vice president of programming for NOW@TCNJ, read “The Body Politic.”

Eliana Reyes, sophomore communication studies major and member of Women In Learning and Leadership (WILL), performed “I ain’t your typical girl.”

The audience also watched musical performances, such as “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and readings around the issues of battery and stalking.

Rowena Briones, junior communication studies major, summed up her readings during the night. “You must love yourself, and realize the importance of being aware of what is out there,” she said.

The performers were not only those directly associated with the DVA planning committee, but peer educators, WILL members and students who wanted to speak out.

Jackie Deitch-Stackhouse, coordinator of the OAVI and DVA Week was passionate about raising awareness for domestic violence.

“Domestic Violence is less known because it is a very emotional type of abuse – not just physical . People between 16-24, the ages of most people in college, are most vulnerable,” Deitch-Stackhouse said. “Many people think that they don’t have to worry because it only happens in marital situations, but it is something that can happen to anyone.”

DVA Week was a chance for the campus community to learn and become involved in the battle against domestic violence.

“Love your Body, Love your Partner,” the grand finale to the week’s programming, was a gratifying experience for many.

“We want to raise awareness because many people think of college as a sheltered bubble, but honestly, even though certain issues may not affect you, they will affect people who you care about,” Osmond said.

Through the words and songs of all the performers, the campus community united to address the problem of domestic violence. “Victims don’t just wear a sign, but they may be struggling just as much,” Osmond said.

Deitch-Stackhouse, who works to mend these problems every day, said toward the end of the event, “We want to tell everyone that they should feel safe to come forward. We not only talk about prevention this week but we also discuss what’s available. We just want everyone to know that they are not alone.”