Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, changed the speech she prepared after attending the events of the Domestic Violence Symposium held on Tuesday, Oct. 4.
After an introduction from Dr. Jeff Gingerich, dean for Academic Affairs, President Marie Angelella George recognized and awarded Barbara and John Jordan for their efforts on behalf of Domestic Violence Education.
“I have so much in my mind and none of it is what I had to talk with you about,” Rosenthal said. “After everything I heard here I decided I wanted to do something very different with my time today.”
Rosenthal described a time 30 years ago when there wasn’t any awareness on the effects of domestic violence. October is known as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of size, gender, or strength, yet the problem is often overlooked and excused. The movement has a history of achievement and success.
“This movement was started by people just like you,” Rosenthal said. Past, present and future became the main focus of Rosenthal’s speech.
“The first shelters were women’s living rooms; the first hotlines were people’s home phone numbers,” Rosenthal said. “It was all about peer-to-peer, that is why we are here today.”
Rosenthal spoke of the past efforts from people all over the world. She spoke of the Battered Women’s Movement.
Rosenthal also spoke of the future and the importance of funding and getting involved. Attendees were asked to participate in an exercise in which they had to lobby to the rest of the audience for 30 seconds or less about the importance of Domestic Violence. The topic of Domestic Violence education was discussed to understand the importance of advocacy.
With the office of Pennsylvania Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. present, audience members were able to direct their statements to them.
“I have college students who every Christmas and summer break, go home to homes of violence and abuse,” Dr. Michelle Filling, Professor of English, said. “If we don’t educate every single child in America by the age of 18, we are doing a disservice to the future of our country.”
Education became a prominent topic for the rest of the speech.
Rosenthal discussed the importance of being educated on the “hidden crime.” “Men are the hidden crime,” Rosenthal said. “Many people don’t take into consideration that males experience domestic violence as well.”
Rosenthal chose to conclude her speech as well as the entire Domestic Violence Symposium with a poem that hangs on the walls of many battered women shelters written by an anonymous domestic violence survivor. “So I fight with one hand and love with the other, in some of my dreams though I love with both hands and the fighting is over,” Rosenthal said, quoting the poem.
“It was truly a special day that surpassed our expectations,” George said. “This symposium truly followed the theme of education and empowerment.”