Domestic violence is a crime that exists in silent places, among sufferers whose voices are stifled by fear and turbulence. Thursday night, students lent their artistic voices to the victims of violence by performing songs and poetry in a coffee house setting. Their words raised awareness of this prevalent issue as part of the conclusion of this year’s Domestic Violence week.
Starting off the night, Rowena L. Briones, senior communication studies major and organizer of this year’s open mic, read her poem, “The Ideal Woman,” in which she said that the ideal woman “uses her body not to please but to empower,” and “speaks what is on her mind and will not back down.”
Rowena’s interpretation of the ideal woman is beautiful, natural and intelligent, diverging from the silent and victimized women often present in media and society.
Next was Dan Keyser, singing mellow covers including “Nothing Better” by the Postal Service, performed as a duet with freshman philosophy major, Jill Hernandez. Hernandez was not supposed to perform originally but when asked the night before, she jumped at the opportunity.
“I know it is a good cause,” Hernandez said.
Cat Cosentino was inspired to share her beautiful guitar and vocal skills because one of her family members is affected by domestic violence.
“My voice is a way to show my appreciation for the people that have shown up tonight and the rest of the week,” Cosentino said.
Enlightening statistics regarding domestic violence were read by Kari Osmond, executive vice chair of W.I.L.L., emphasizing that the issue affects all kinds of people, regardless of age, gender, social status or sexual orientation.
Strong performances followed by Lauren McFadden on piano and vocals, Hanna Pagan on guitar and vocals, Dan Golazeski on guitar and vocals and the band Spot On.
When asked if she was thinking about the issue during her set, Pagan said, “I was thinking about it, which is why I picked the songs that I did . you have to have hope.”
Rick Sabatini and his accompanist on banjo wrote a song specifically for the night, including tender lyrics like, “your short-term tattoo, three weeks black and blue, will turn back to the pink that flows inside of you,” and ending with the poignant phrase, “I am glad you found a good man.”
Annette Barnes recounted emotional stories of personal encounters with domestic violence, bringing an intensity to the night. She spoke on the time that she had to console her young niece by saying: “Baby girl, it’s not your fault.” Barnes said, “I know too many people that are the hidden victims . If you see something going on, you have to step in.”
Everyone present seemed to agree that the event was entertaining, many people saying that it was the best open mic they had ever been to. Rowena pushed for the coffee house because she felt that Domestic Violence Awareness week is important for the College community.
She said the issue is “so important, not only for adults. It happens on college campuses . This is happening, and we need to do something about it.”