ESU Hosts Empowerment Day

EAST STROUDSBURG -- One by one, students on the campus of East Stroudsburg University threw purple paint-filled balloons at a sign that read "Stop the Silence, End the Violence."

It's all part of the first ever Empowerment Day, designed to rise against intimate partner violence.

"Raising awareness is the key important part of understanding that it does happen to a lot more people than we think and or our victims and survivors to have a voice," said Laura Suits, ESU Wellness Education and Prevention.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Members of the University Wellness Education and Prevention Program tell Newswatch 16, one in three women and one in four men have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

Students believe the reality of it is scary.

"I feel like if you need help, you should start saying something because doing it by yourself isn't going to help," said Victoria Coppola, ESU Freshman.

A number of events took place on campus for Empowerment Day, including resource fairs, walks, and a candlelight vigil.

Many students who showed up left their mark on the sign.

Once the sign is filled with paint, it will be put on display during an empowerment walk. The paint is meant to act as a students signature taking a pledge against Intimate Partner Violence.

"Instead of just signing a paper, we wanted to do something a little more unique and something that is more significant. So actually throwing something against this hard topic, essentially the board, really raises awareness," said Suits.

Freshman Melanie Martin says more awareness on college campuses might make it easier for victims to come forward.

"It's hard to initially ask for help but once you get it, I think it makes a big difference," said Martin.

The Empowerment Walk is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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