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UNF event goes virtual to raise domestic violence awareness

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Traditionally, the University of North Florida would raise awareness through its annual Take Back the Night event. Instead, the university took its message online this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

UNF is doing its part to educate and raise awareness about domestic violence, which, according to domestic violence advocates, affects more than 10 million people yearly across the United States.

“One of the tactics of domestic violence is isolation. The fact that people have had to be sequestered in their homes can certainly exacerbate that situation,” said Dr. Jennifer Wesely, UNF professor of criminology and criminal justice.

During the pandemic, domestic violence has increased in the home due to partners being isolated together, UNF said.

Take Back the Night went virtual this year to shed light on those affected, harmed and killed by domestic violence.

“Events at UNF like the Take Back the Night are real important because even for college students and people who are entering into some of their earlier relationships in life may not realize some of the red flags. Whether they are potentially a victim or a perpetrator, it just, for some of them, it’s, like, ‘Oh, here’s some indirection in having a healthy relationship,'" Wesely said. “So you really can’t have too much education and prevention.”

Wesely said education and prevention are important tactics when fighting and eliminating domestic violence.

She added it’s important to understand the different kinds of abuse.

“A lot of times when people think about domestic violence, they just think about physical abuse, but that’s really just one piece of the pie," Wesely said. “In fact, some victims say that the other types of abuse they experience that are related to psychological and emotional can be just as damaging to them, so psychological and emotional can include things like demeaning, degrading, insulting, humiliating.”

Wesely said other forms of abuse also include economic and full control.

To find more information about the event and resources, visit unf.edu.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse, these resources are also available:

  • The Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, which will direct you to the nearest shelter, is 1-800-500-1119.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day. The number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
  • The Micah’s Place (Nassau County) Domestic Violence Help Hotline is 904-225-9979.
  • The Hubbard House in Jacksonville can be reached by dialing 904-354-3114.
  • The hotline number of Quigley House in Clay County is 904-284-0340.
  • The Betty Griffin Center in St. Johns County can be reached at 904-824-1555.

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