Exhibit raises awareness of violence

The Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education presented the exhibit.

by Anna Weggel

Red silhouette figures of women caught the eyes of students Tuesday outside of Coffman Union.

Each figure represented a woman or child who was killed in Minnesota in 2003 by an acquaintance or partner, and carried a story of the woman’s life and death it represented.

Marking Domestic Violence Awareness Month for the second consecutive year, the Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education presented the exhibit on the steps of the student union.

“We want to raise the awareness of domestic violence as well as remember people,” said Bethany Bohlig, an Aurora Center volunteer.

The Aurora Center educates students about domestic and relationship violence and stalking, and helps victims of those crimes.

Bohlig said the names and stories of the murdered women and children are from the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women’s 2003 “femicide” report.

Aurora Center representatives sat at an information table at the event, handing out pamphlets and answering questions. Students could register to volunteer at the center or learn about domestic violence issues.

Reading stories of murder and abuse, students “sit and stare and think about it,” Aurora Center volunteer Catherine Wicks said.

She said the figures are painted red to represent “blood, passion and violence.”

First-year student Agnes Musene said she has never seen a display such as this before.

“It’s an eye-opener when you think about it,” Musene said.

Musene said she stepped off a Campus Connector in front of Coffman Union and noticed the figures immediately. Students could not help noticing the figures because of their bold color, she said.

“I mean, look – it’s red,” she said.

Human ecology sophomore Kelli Jamison read about a woman who was murdered by her significant other, who later committed suicide in front of their 8-year-old son.

“They make you want to cry,” Jamison said. “It’s sad.”

First-year child psychology student Dustin Norman said the domestic violence figures and stories were a perfect way to raise awareness. Stories about stabbings were particularly effective, he said.

“That’s a horrible, horrible, gruesome way to go,” Norman said.

The stories’ messages are important, he said.

“People who read them are better off,” he said.

Students who need help or know someone who does can also come to the center, which is located on Boynton Health Service’s fourth floor, Aurora Center director Jamie Tiedemann said. They do not need an appointment.

The exhibit continues today and will return later this month.