Religious club panel promotes awareness

By Emily Irvine

The Stop Violence Office held a panel last Tuesday in the Bronco
Student Center to discuss religion and domestic violence.

The discussion provided information to staff, faculty and
students about the religious clubs on campus and the support
services they offer for victims of domestic violence.

The panel consisted of representatives from five religious clubs
on campus: Campus Crusade for Christ, the Catholic Newman Club, the
CPP Hillel Jewish Community, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints Student Association, and the Muslim Student
Association.

“It’s good to get perspectives from all sides and know where to
go if you need support,” said Talia Abramovits, a second-year
psychology student.

Erika Zepeda, assistant coordinator from the Stop Violence
Office, led the discussion by asking each group to describe how the
gender roles were defined within their religion.

She then asked them to explain their beliefs about religion and
domestic violence and what each religion’s leaders do when they
find out someone in their congregation is a victim of domestic
violence.

“At the Stop Violence Office, we recognize that a lot of the
survivors that we help are affiliated with some type of religious
group,” said Zepeda. “Often times they say, ‘I’m going to talk to
someone from my church,’ and we were wondering what type of help
they were getting. Is the church sensitive to their needs? What is
their belief about what they are experiencing?”

The Stop Violence Office wishes to make it easier for students
to confront issues of domestic violence.

“We want to make these issues approachable,” said Samantha
Depetro, a third-year political science student and an assistant at
the Stop Violence Office.

All five of the groups had similar beliefs in defining gender
roles and the family unit.

The role of the man is to protect and provide for his family,
while the woman’s responsibility is to nurture her family.

The panel agreed that these roles were different but of equal
importance – the man and woman complement and rely on each
other.

The panel also discussed the misconceptions of gender roles from
people outside of their respective communities.

These misconceptions were also similar – women are kept out of
power and don’t have a say in religious or political matters.

“Don’t these systems perpetuate keeping women powerless?” said
an audience member.

The Catholic Newman Club explained male and female are equal and
designed to complement and serve each other.

The panel stressed that support services are available to
victims of domestic violence.

Prayer and sharing scripture was recommended to alleviate pain
and suffering.

The Muslim Student Association recommended victims seek help
from family, friends or a leader in their Muslim community. The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has professional church
counseling and visiting teachers who visit homes to check on
families and ensure the well-being of their community.

“In the Latino community there’s not that much information about
domestic violence shelters or battered women’s shelters for
domestic violence victims, especially if they’re from a foreign
country,” said third-year history student Luis Martinez, a member
of Campus Crusade for Christ.

The Cal Poly Hillel Jewish Community recommends counseling to
eradicate domestic violence. The Catholic Newman Club said
increasing awareness of resources available was very important, and
agreed with Campus Crusade for Christ’s idea that love of each
other and God will bring an end to violence.

“Violence affects everyone,” said Zepeda. “We wanted to get a
group together so they could discuss their beliefs and so students
could know who they could turn to for support.”

Students were able to gather after the discussion to ask
questions and get information about support services and club
meetings.

“One way to stop violence is to live in a way that promotes
peace,” said fourth-year chemical engineering student Carlo Cruz.
“Silence makes cowards of us all; we need to address the reality of
violence and abuse.”

Religious club panel promotes awareness

Allen Chen

Religious club panel promotes awareness

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