‘Slap her’: BYU offers resources for domestic violence


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A new YouTube video is raising awareness about the importance of stopping domestic violence. “Slap her: Children’s reactions” was uploaded to YouTube early January by an Italian website, Fanpage.it.

The video was filmed on the streets of Italy, where six boys between the ages of 7 and 11 were chosen at random to answer a few questions. After stating their names and ages, the boys were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. They responded with occupations like pizza maker, policeman, baker and football player.

The boys were then introduced to a girl named Martina and asked what they liked about her. They complimented her eyes and her hair, and one boy even said he liked “everything.” Creators told the boys to caress her face and to make a silly face at her. They all complied with little or no hesitation. The last thing they were told to do, though, made them pause: “slap her.”

All of the boys looked uncomfortable. They stood very still, staring at the unseen cameraman, not knowing what to do. One by one, they all said no. “I don’t want to hurt her,” replied the 7-year-old.

“Jesus doesn’t want us to hit others,” said the future football player.

The video ends with one boy firmly answering why he won’t slap the girl: “Why? ‘Cause I’m a man.”

Some BYU students responded favorably to the video. Tyler Lewis, from Las Vegas, Nevada, studying mechanical engineering, thought the video was powerful. “They did a great job using kids to teach us something we should already know but much of the world has forgotten,” Lewis said.

Jena Anderson, from Bluffdale, liked the video as well. “It shows that we internally know what’s right. If we understand not to do things when we’re young, then we’ll grow up knowing it’s not right,” Anderson said.

The viral video is just another advancement in the realm of domestic violence awareness that adds to the support BYU and the community offers for victims.

BYU operates many campus services that help those suffering from domestic violence abuse. Tiffany Turley, director of Women’s Services and Resources, described the office’s role in helping victims of domestic violence.

“We make sure that they feel safe and that the situation gets stabilized,” Turley said.

Women’s Services then sends those seeking help to campus services that deal directly with domestic violence, such as Headline IX, The Comprehensive Clinic, Counseling and Psychological Services and University Police.

Headline IX partners with the Women’s Services and Resources. They deal with sexual discrimination in athletics and all university programs. The staff is trained on four behaviors: stalking, dating violence, sexual violence and domestic violence.

Headline IX coordinator Sarah Westerberg said they strictly follow the sexual misconduct policy with BYU and Utah’s legal code definition for domestic violence.

Women’s Services and Resources also hosts Voices of Courage, an annual 5K race. The goal of the run is to unite men and women together against the culture of violence. “We really encourage men to get involved so they can understand that domestic violence is a human, not just women, issue,” Turley said.

The event takes place each March and is used as an aid to increase prevention and awareness of abuse as well as education about domestic violence.

Community services are also offered for those facing domestic violence, such as the House of Hope and the Center for Women and Children in Crisis. Women and children can receive help, safety and a place to stay at these facilities.

House of Hope works with BYU’s Y-Serve in a program called Y-Serve Hope. Volunteers travel to House of Hope and interact with those who are dealing with domestic violence, substance abuse, suicidal tendencies and rape. Volunteers provide comfort, support and friendship by playing games, singing songs and doing other activities with the individuals at the home.

BYU partners with the Provo community in ways like these to raise awareness of domestic violence and to aid in its prevention, and the new YouTube video contributes to awareness.

“It is extremely important that every university, including BYU, address these issues,” Westerberg said. “We want the campus to be a safe and positive place for everyone.”

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