For Immediate Release—Thursday, October 19, 2006
Mary E. McCrank
Media Relations Officer
SUNY Geneseo to Participate in Walk With Me Oct. 26
to Raise Awareness of Domestic Violence
GENESEO, N.Y.—Students at the State University of New York at Geneseo are planning to participate in a statewide initiative entitled "Walk With Me," a silent procession to raise awareness for and benefit the victims of domestic abuse. The silent walk will take place from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26.
Starting at the MacVittie College Union patio, participants will weave their way throughout the campus for about an hour before concluding at the patio. Students and community members will take part in the walk. Geneseo is one of a couple dozen colleges and universities across New York state participating in the event.
Geneseo's "Walk With Me" program also will have two other components: donate and learn. Donations of toiletries, housewares and paper products for Chances & Changes, the Livingston County domestic violence program, will be accepted at various locations across campus, including residence halls, academic buildings and Milne Library through Oct. 24. These donations will go to help survivors who are in a shelter so they can become more comfortable and get a fresh start on their lives.
For the learn portion of the program, Geneseo president Christopher C. Dahl will introduce Karen Tremer, the executive director of Chances & Changes, on the union patio after the walk. Tremer will talk about domestic violence being more than a gender issue, but rather a social problem.
According to endabuse.org, 31 percent of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend during their lifetimes. On top of this, 25 percent of American women say they have been raped or physically assaulted at some point in their lives.
"Many people do not realize how common domestic violence, intimate partner violence and dating violence are. At the end of the walk, we plan on reading stories from survivors of domestic violence from our country, without the real names, to show that domestic violence
happens in many unexpected and common forms," says Katherine McCarty, a junior
anthropology major/women's studies minor from Pittsford, N.Y. McCarty is an intern for Chances & Changes, secretary of the Womyn's Action Coalition and a member of the Women's Studies Advisory Committee.
"It's hard to determine how many students will participate, but we have received a very positive response so far," says McCarty. "Many departmental clubs as well as extracurricular clubs are collecting items from members and participating in the walk. Students from Greek organizations are also expected to participate in the event."
"I think this walk shows a really strong connection between SUNY Geneseo and the Geneseo community. As a member of the Women's Studies Minor Advisory Committee, it is part of my duty to form off-campus connections with the community. We need to relay the message that students are active agents for the community in which they reside for most of the year, and that we can be a very helpful resource," says McCarty. "I think this event emphasizes this point."
"Anyone is welcome to show up at the walk," says McCarty. "Participants are encouraged to wear dark colors, like black or blue, and during the walk we will be silent to remind our community of the silence surrounding the issue. They will be given slips of paper to give to passersby explaining our cause and our intentions."
Twenty-two different colleges and universities participated in the first ever "Walk With Me" event last year, and that number is expected to increase to 25 this year. The New York State Assembly and Senate have proclaimed Oct. 26 as the statewide "Walk With Me" Day. This event was initiated by New York State Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, D-Bronx.
Written by Joe Mignano, public relations intern in the Office of Communications and Publications.