Students get their fingernail painted purple to show support for domestic violence awareness. Photo courtesy of Crystal Harrell.
California State University, San Bernardino

Students paint their nails to raise awareness for domestic violence

October is regarded as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the CSUSB community is doing their part to honor the cause.

On Oct. 3, an event sponsored by VOICE and Title IX and Gender Equity, “Put The Nail In It,” kick-started a campaign to promote ending domestic violence and celebrating survivors of  abuse by having students paint one fingernail purple.

Students get their fingernail painted purple to show support for domestic violence awareness. Photo courtesy of Crystal Harrell.

Violence Outreach Informing our Communities with Education (VOICE), a student volunteer group, set up a table outside the Santos Manuel Student Union and provided purple nail polish for students to paint a fingernail the national color for domestic violence awareness. Pinned ribbons and flyers with more information about helpful resources were also available for the public.

VOICE volunteers are trained and supervised by Marina Rodriguez, the CSUSB advocate for survivors of sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

“We just really want people to understand that domestic violence is an important issue that exists,” stated Rodriguez. “And if people understand that it’s happening, then hopefully they will want to be part of the movement to stop it.”

VOICE volunteer Carissa Briggs (left) and advocate Marina Rodriguez (right) pose next to their table. Photo courtesy of Crystal Harrell.

Rodriguez advises others to educate themselves on the topic of domestic violence in order to better assist those in an abusive situation and to advocate change. She identifies five steps of action for allies to follow: listen, believe, support, provide options, and create a safety plan.

“It can be really irresponsible if someone says, ‘you should leave.’ It’s not usually safe to leave,” warned Rodriguez. “It wouldn’t be appropriate to give that kind of advice. That’s why it’s better to provide options instead of telling people what to do outright… We really want to empower survivors by letting them make their own choice.”

Statistics from the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s 24-hour web-based resource, Loveisrespect, show that one in five college students have been in abusive relationships.

In addition, the Hotline reports that an average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States alone—resulting in more than 12 million women and men affected per year.

Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, all students showcased support at the “Put a Nail in It” table. Photo courtesy of Crystal Harrell.

“Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, domestic violence hurts everybody. It’s a societal problem that must be addressed, so it takes everyone to work together to help resolve the issue,” said CSUSB sophomore and VOICE member, Jeffrey Bongga.

More events and workshops promoting the end of domestic violence will be available for students to attend throughout the month, some of which count for the yearly End Sexual Violence Training requirement.

Knowing the right resources and support lines is also an essential part in promoting the end of domestic violence. It is advised that witnesses of abusive behavior call 911 to report suspected incidents.

Nail polish of different shades of purple were provided for students to paint their nails the official color of domestic violence awareness. Photo courtesy of Crystal Harrell.

CSUSB Counseling and Psychological Services is also available to accommodate survivors of abusive relationships with counseling and other supportive workshops. For 24-hour assistance, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

To learn more information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month and upcoming on-campus activities, follow the CSUSB VOICE Peers Facebook page and Instagram.