Voices of Courage campaign brings awareness to violence and abuse

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BYU’s Women’s Services and Resources is presenting a Voices of Courage campaign this week to increase awareness about abuse and domestic violence.

Women’s Services and Resources director Tiffany Turley said the events will engage men and women in the fight against domestic violence.

“We hope students gain a better understanding of the issue and the stark reality of it,” Turley said. “But also that there is hope and each of us can have such an impact.”

Bre Lasley tells the story of the physical abuse she suffered when a man broke into her home. She finished the speech by discussing how important it is to fight mental and physical abuse. (Ryan Turner)

The campaign kicked off on Saturday, Oct. 22, with an art show featuring BYU students’ work. The evening also featured a lecture from Bre Lasley, an abuse survivor and founder of Fight Like Girls, an organization teaching women the importance of self-defense and empowerment.

Lasley spoke about an ordeal she went through last year when a man tried to murder her and her sister. She survived by fighting the man for as long as she could. She said she now struggles with depression and anxiety, but said it is important to keep fighting when challenges arise.

“You can choose to be a victim,” she said, “or you can choose to be a survivor.”

The rest of the week will include daily events providing information about domestic violence and ways individuals can help others.

On Monday, Oct. 24, students signed a pledge to speak out against domestic violence and stand up against abusive behavior.

Tuesday featured an interactive awareness gallery providing facts about abuse and teaching how individuals can make a difference. Women’s Services and Resources offered a workshop on Wednesday that taught attendees about bystander intervention and being proactive in helping others.

Women’s Services and Resources campaign specialist Madison Fullmer said she didn’t realize how real domestic violence is before she started working with WSR. She said people become better at combating the problem as they become more informed.

“It’s something that kind of gets swept under the rug, especially at BYU where things tend to go smoothly,” Fullmer said. “But it’s a real problem and there are ways to solve it.”

Ryan Turner
Women’s Services and Resources is hosting an awareness campaign about violence and domestic abuse through Oct. 29. (Ryan Turner)

The campaign will continue on Thursday with another workshop, this one highlighting the healing process after abuse. The workshop will discuss how to personally heal and how to help friends and family members who have been in abusive situations. The workshop will be held in Room 3320 of the Wilkinson Student Center from 11 a.m. to noon.

There will be a lecture on Friday, Oct. 28, about digital abuse. The interactive event will discuss cyberbullying and how to be a positive voice in combating it. It will be held in Room 3280 of the Wilkinson Student Center from 11 a.m. to noon.

Campaign ambassador Jessica Everett said WSR put a lot of time into the events to help spread awareness.

“If someone is experiencing abuse, (the events) can help them have the courage to speak out,” Everett said. “They also provide information about how we can reach out and help people.”

The week will end with a Take Your Mark 5K run on Saturday, Oct. 29. The run will begin at 8 a.m. in the Richards Building quad. Registration is free on the Voices of Courage website.

All event dates, times and locations are available on the Women’s Services and Resources website.

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