On Monday, Oct. 8, members of the Zeta Theta Chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority Incorporated and Counseling Services sponsored the Second Annual Domestic Violence Walk on the TMB lawn.
JSU students came to the lawn wearing coats and scarves. There were posters labeled Stop The Violence. A small table was set up which had supplies that people could buy. Purple T-shirts were $10 and wrists bands were $1. Pink and purple hats were also laid on the table. Small booklets containing information on domestic violence were given.
Senior Christal Echoles, a member of the sorority, was the head of the committee for this event. She and Julie Nix, who is in the Counseling Services Office worked together to set up this event.
“We worked together last year with this event and we decided to do it again this year,” said Echoles.
Echoles and her sorority group strongly support stopping domestic violence. “Last year a sister of ours who was from Texas was killed from a domestic violence dispute. Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, we decided to do something for it. We decided to do a walk in remembrance of her. The proceeds from the wrist bands that we sold last year went to the son that she had,” she said.
Echoles said that they had a good amount of people that showed up to support this event last year. “It was from about 50 to 75 people that came,” she said.
Signs and T-shirts for sale were brought by Second Chance. They come out and support these events,” said Echoles.
Susan Shipman, Director of Second Chance, was a speaker for this event last year. “We are the Domestic and Sexual Violence program for Calhoun County and six others. We know that campus dating violence is very prevalent. The more of us that know about it can perhaps prevent some of that, if we can share with everybody what some of the signals are, something that may be turning into a domestic violence relationship, or share some of the statistics for sexual violence. We know that 91% of sexual assault victims know the person who is assaulting them. It’s all about awareness,” said Shipman.
Linda Reeds was the speaker for this event. “I am a domestic violence survivor. I know how important it is to be educated and have the support from your family, friends, and outside resources. Domestic violence is a crime and it also will take your life if you’re not aware of what you need to do. I know what it feels like to live in fear everyday and have your self-esteem and courage taken, all of those things you have to keep you going,” said Reeds.
“The best advice I can give you is to reach out to the resources that you have here in your community. We have a wonderful support system at Jacksonville State. It’s called SOAR (Survivors Overcoming Abusive Relationships). It meets on the third Tuesday of every month."
People at the event were given posters and walked around the campus. Students that were passed along the way jumped in and joined the group. At the end of the walk, participants were given water.
“It’s very important that you stick together and make a difference,” said Reeds.
“The walk that we are having later on in the month is on Tuesday, October 23rd. We are starting at Centential Memorial Park that’s at the corner of 17th and Quintard. The time to be there is 5:30p.m. with registration. Judge Brenda Stedham will be our speaker that evening,” said Shipman.