By Sarah L. Lopez
Pulse staff reporter
Because domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes in the U.S., it’s difficult to be aware of just how often it occurs. But with the help of a new club on campus, students will know what it means to take a “Stand” against it.
“I created the organization as a way for students and others in our community to know there is someone standing up for them,” said Katlyn Hamaker, president of PAC’s Club Stand. “As a survivor, I can only hope that men and women who are abused or are survivors can come forward and help be a voice in our community.”
PAC has begun to raise awareness of this issue by holding meetings and lunch-ins with representatives from area programs, such as the Family Assistance Crisis Team (F.A.C.T.), Project Clothesline, The Rape Crisis Center and the Kristine Meza Foundation to help students become aware of domestic and sexual violence.
“Being a male, it’s embarrassing to talk about situations like this because you hardly ever hear a man speaking up about it,” said Mike Garza, a sophomore “As an abused spouse, I would encourage more people to speak up because it really helps with recovery.”
Three out of four Americans know a victim of domestic violence, with females making up 76 percent of family violence victims. According to the 2016 Weekly Crime Report of the San Antonio Police Department, a total of 8,598 family violence cases and 919 sexual assaults were reported.
During October–Domestic Violence Awareness Month–the Student Life Center put together a Clothesline Project where T-shirts were picked up by whomever was willing to share their story. Participants decorated their shirts with messages and experiences to raise awareness. This event is one that empowers individuals to fight for those who are too afraid to speak up.
“I have always wanted to help people,” said Theresa Reyes, a volunteer of F.A.C.T. “I feel good at the end of the day, knowing that I helped at least one person either get out of a domestic violence relationship or provide them resources that can support them until they are ready to leave.”
F.A.C.T. volunteers are available at the South Side SAPD substation, located at 711 W. Mayfield Blvd. on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
For more information, contact Ivie Tovar at SAPD headquarters (210) 207-2305. If you would like to be a part of Club Stand, contact Katlyn Hamaker at Pacclubstand@gmail.com or (210) 951-0093.