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Fall Festival held to educate about domestic violence
As Domestic Violence Awareness month draws to a close, a fall festival on SEMO’s campus reminded everyone of the importance of being healthy and happy in all aspects of life.
The Domestic Violence Awareness Month Fall Festival took place Oct. 27 at 11 a.m. at SEMO’s Academic Terraces. Organized by members of the Center for Behavioral Health Program, everyone on campus was encouraged to attend.
Substance abuse counselor and event coordinator John Nimmo held the festival as a way for those to reach out if needed and to help students avoid harmful behavior.
“We want students to be aware of the problem and to know the resources available to them,” Nimmo said. “The resources featured at the event provided students with things like a place to go, ways they can receive help if they find themselves in a situation, and it was just a good way to get out and have some fun, as well.”
The festival included pumpkins for painting, puppies from the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri and a scavenger hunt allowing participants to go around the festival and speak with representatives from the various services in attendance.
One of the representatives attending the festival was Vice President and Educator for the Safe House of Southeast Missouri Dakota Hamlin. Hamlin wanted to let students know of the services the Safe House can offer.
“Healthy relationships are possible,” Hamlin said. “Feeling healthy in a relationship is one of the most important things for a relationship. If you do not feel safe in your relationship and are unsure of how to get out of it, the Safe House can help. We are here to let everyone know they are not alone, and we offer plenty of services to take care of anyone under any circumstances.”
All the services the Safe House offers are free, and they include safety planning, training to recognize triggers in abusers, court advocacy and more.
SEMO Network Against Sexual Violence was also in attendnce at the festival. Development Director Alix Gasser was there to remind those in attendance of the importance of consent.
“Sexual abuse is the No. 1 unreported crime in the United States,” Gasser said. “If you have been sexually abused, you are not alone. We want everyone to know we are here to help, and they have options to protect themselves and others, no matter the circumstance.”
Gasser’s table featured a “wheel of consent” full of phrases that mean no and phrases that mean yes. If the wheel landed on a phrase that meant yes, the spinner received a prize. The wheel was intentionally misleading, as it had many phrases that most consider to be a “yes,” but in reality are an “unsure” answer. Phrases like, “Maybe,” and, “If that is what you want,” were losing phrases.
Nimmo would like to thank all of those who participated in the festival and would like to remind students they are never alone and to never be afraid to seek help if they feel they are in need. More events will be held in the future that provide students with opportunities to learn and stay safe. If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, contact the Center for Behavioral Health and Accessibility through their website.