By: Kevin McDonnell
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – On Oct. 3, Niagara University, under the leadership of Dr. Dana Radatz and Dr. Jennifer Beebe, held Surviving…Thriving: A Journey of Healing through Art at the Castellani Art Museum. This is the 4th annual installment of the event which features domestic violence survivor artwork in collaboration with both university and community partners some of which include: Campus Activities, Campus Ministry, New York State Police, YWCA of Niagara Frontier, Pinnacle Services, Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, Niagara Falls Police Department Domestic Violence Unit, Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, and others.
The event was conceived of 4 years ago as another brainchild of both Dr. Radatz and Dr. Beebe who along with other campus faculty members, administrators, and activists brought to fruition the first Take Back the Night event at Niagara. In combination with that collaboration this event seemed like a natural next step in promoting awareness. It also acted as a forum for survivor healing in expansion of the efforts started with Take Back the Night centered around sexual and intimate partner violence.
Participants of the event received all sorts of resources that featured contact information for counseling services, Title IX, and other outside domestic violence services. The event takes place in October to coincide with domestic violence awareness month while Take Back the Night takes place in April to mark Sexual Assault awareness month. This year the event featured 180 attendees and raised approximately $600 with the money being donated to the YWCA’s Passage House that provides crisis intervention and counseling services to both victims and children of domestic violence.
Dr. Radatz sees the event as the epitome of the Vincentian mission in action and was diligent in mentioning that while her and Dr. Beebe are often the face of the events the support both on and off campus has been overwhelming. Domestic Violence statistics are truly daunting one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, 85% of domestic violence victims are women and sexual violence affects one in three women and one in six men around the world.
In light of the statistics, Dr. Beebe seems encouraged by the work happening at NU, stating “My hope is that these efforts are beginning to create a shift in our college community that encourages a cultural transformation where sexual and relationship violence are not commonplace. Most importantly, we are aiming to cultivate a safe space for all of our students that will foster their academic, emotional, and spiritual development. We are making strides; however, we still have some significant work to do.” Dr. Radatz made it clear it is not just enough for these events to be held, but that students need to come and be apart of it. Please see the bottom of this article for some resources regarding domestic violence and sexual assault.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-46773