For Purple Day, John Jay Students Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

For Purple Day, John Jay Students Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

For Purple Day, John Jay Students Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

This October, the Women’s Center for Gender Justice is hosting a series of events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in order to spread awareness about intimate partner violence (IPV). Included in the Center’s programming were workshops held on October 18 and 19 where students received purple t-shirts to wear the following day for Purple Day — National Domestic Violence Awareness Day.

“Our efforts to bring awareness to this issue on campus are so important,” said Christina Manuel, a senior student at John Jay majoring in Gender Studies and International Criminal Justice. “We’re letting students who have experienced violence know they have a support group.”

Students will also be tabling in the atrium throughout the month, where John Jay community members can decorate t-shirts for inclusion in The Clothesline Project – a national initiative designed to spark campus-wide conversations about violence. The t-shirts will later be displayed in an opening ceremony on November 2nd in the hopes that the exhibit will serve as a visual symbol of support for survivors.

Manuel is one of several students who have been trained by Jessica Greenfield, counselor and clinical social worker at the Women’s Center for Gender Justice, about Title IX, the national law that prohibits sex discrimination and sexual misconduct in schools and colleges. The goal of training students is that they can pass this knowledge on to their peers, who may not realize there are support mechanisms on campus.

 “Many students don’t know that John Jay has a policy on sexual misconduct, or that they can speak to me confidentially,” Greenfield said. “As a counselor, I give students as much information as I can so they can make informed decisions, including whether they want to file a report.”

The center offers counseling services for those who have survived any form of gender-based violence, including short-term advocacy or ongoing counseling, as well as information and resources. Still, Greenfield recognizes that not all students may feel comfortable seeking out this support.

 “There is still so much stigma around this issue,” Greenfield said. “That’s why the Clothesline Project is impactful, so that students can see that may not be alone in their experiences.”

Furthermore, the language used to describe experiences of violence can sometimes be alienating for students.

“Not everyone relates to the term ‘domestic violence’,” Greenfield said. “But when we talk about healthy relationships and healthy communication, it meets people on a different level.”

The Women’s Center for Gender Justice’s focus on healthy relationships includes all aspects of sexuality, including reproductive and sexual health.  In November, the Center hosts a birth control clinic and sexual health fair where students can meet with physicians and get information about testing as well as prescriptions for birth control for up to a year.
The Women’s Center also runs the Gender Justice Advocates Program, a professional development program that trains students on how to engage in activism and lead effective campaigns for gender justice. 

Christina Manuel, whose hometown is in Virginia, said that it is this commitment to justice that makes her most proud to be a student at John Jay.

“It’s so cool to be in a community that is focused on social justice and change,” she said. “That passion for activism from both students and professors is what really drew me here.”