Public Safety event promotes domestic violence awareness

Tim Evans speaks about domestic violence and a personal experience. I ASIA SIMONE BURNS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

 

Samford’s Public Safety department held an event in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month  Tuesday evening.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used by a partner to gain or maintain power or control over another partner, according to the Department of Justice. The DOJ notes that one in four women and one in seven men fall victim to domestic abuse.

“You never know when your sister or your friend is going to be faced with circumstances that they just don’t know how to find their way out of,” Associate Vice President for Operations and Strategic Initiatives Kim Brown said as she opened the event.

The event took place in the Brock School of Business Regions Room at 6:30 p.m.  

Samford Public Safety Officer Tim Evans spoke to an audience of about 200 students, informing them of the impact of domestic violence.

Evans, who has been doing police work since 1990, said he wanted to “give you the tools to recognize that you might be in an abusive relationship.”

“People think domestic violence is physical, but it’s not always physical,” he said. “There’s more to it than just that. Emotional abuse is also considered domestic violence.”

Evans described the cycle of abuse, traits of an abuser and common signs that domestic relationships might be abusive.

“(Abusers) try to minimize what they’ve done, then deny it was as bad as it was, then they blame the partner,” Evans said. “They always feel like they’re the victim and they’re justified in whatever action they take.”

Evans said that women who have been victims of domestic violence often suffer from PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression and eating disorders and are more prone to substance abuse. And, he said, women are not the only victims of domestic violence.

“Here’s a statistic: 50 percent of men who abuse their wives also abuse their children,” Evans said.

Evans also shared a personal account of how domestic violence impacts families and communities.

“I saw first-hand the toll domestic violence takes on women, families, children and even men,” he said. “In February of this year, it hit me in a way that I had never even expected.”

For the first time in a public setting, Evans shared the story of his eldest daughter, Bethany, who was killed by her boyfriend on Feb. 24, according to police.

“Have you ever met anyone who just loves everybody and everybody loves them? Even the most difficult people loved Bethany,” Evans said.

Bethany was 23 years old when she passed away.

“Her passion was helping people, and that’s what I want to do to honor my baby … talk to you guys and help you from having this happen to you, one of your family members, one of your friends,” Evans said. “God loves you. And his plan for your life never, ever includes abuse.”

To learn more about domestic abuse, visit www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence or call 1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233).

Asia Simone Burns, Editor-in-Chief

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