By William Wu
October is known to have one of the spookiest days of the year — Halloween — but October is also recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states that the intent of this month is to end domestic violence by bringing together advocates from across the nation.
On Monday, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m., Theta Delta Chi International Fraternity and Omega Phi Beta Sorority Inc. teamed up together to produce Personal Foul, a dinner and discussion in Beuth House that dealt with domestic violence, gender inequality and media portrayals of these topic.
Facilitators Ricardo Fonseca and Nurisha Rodriguez led the discussion by covering statistics about domestic violence: 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during their lifetimes, 1 in 10 men have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by a partner and an intimate partner has used a deadly weapon against 63 percent of men and 15 percent of women during a fight.
The foundations of this discussion were two famous professional athletes: Ray Rice and Hope Solo.
Ray Rice is a former running back for the Baltimore Ravens who beat his then-fiancé, now wife, in an elevator and then proceeded to drag her out of the elevator. This incident was caught on security footage and, as a result, he was indefinitely suspended from the NFL, losing all of his endorsements.
Hope Solo is an American soccer goalkeeper and two-time Olympic gold medalist. According to Fox News, she is charged with “two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault in Washington state stemming from a June 21 incident with her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew at a family gathering. She has pleaded not guilty and the case is scheduled for trial on Nov. 4. She faces up to six months in jail if convicted. For now, the team and major sponsor Nike are standing by her.”
After the brief introduction, Fonseca and Rodriguez asked a series of questions that they left participants to think about and discuss as a group. Instead of structuring the event as a lecture, chairs and sofas were placed to form a circle so everyone was able to see each other and have an open discussion.
People were eager to answer questions. Some of the more popular questions were: What role does the media play in the judgment of individuals’ actions? Can females be as physical as males? What would have happened if the genders were reversed in the situations? Why is there an imbalance between male and female domestic violence cases?
As domestic violence was the main topic of discussion, the discussion was relayed back to sexual assault several times.
As President Barack Obama recently launched the “It’s On Us” campaign to end sexual assault on America college campuses, the group consensus seemed to be that the same precautions should be taken with domestic violence.
A recurring idea at the event was that if bystanders saw a woman assaulting a man in public, not many people would acknowledge it, but if roles were reversed, there would be a different outcome.
Fonseca and Rodriguez both agreed that the event was successful, as many attendees stayed after finishing their Chipotle to participate in the rest of the event.