Students speak out against ‘hurting hands’

By Patricia Sanchez

The Cal Poly Pomona Violence Prevention and Women’s Resource
Center hosted its first “These Hands Don’t Hurt” event Thursday in
front of the Bronco Student Center.

The event took place during U-Hour and aimed to bring attention
to the severity of domestic abuse during Sexual Assault Awareness
Month.

Adopted from similar events from other universities, the affair
consisted of an interactive display in which men pledged their
commitment to end violence against women and speak out about how
violence has affected their lives.

A bulletin board was made available for participants to write on
paper cut outs of hands, a message about how they use their hands
for love instead of violence. Students were also encouraged to
speak about personal stories relating to domestic violence.

Director of the Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers,
Byron Howlett, was present to support the event and gave a speech
advocating for all men to take a stand against violence.

As a child, Howlett witnessed his mother suffer domestic abuse
from his then step-father. Because of that experience, he has
participated in many of the Center’s events encouraging students,
men especially, to become aware of the severity of domestic
abuse.

“It generates an atmosphere of awareness and support,” Howlett
said. “New students are not fully aware about the issues of
domestic abuse and this [event] is a constructive outlet. Silence
is not acceptable.”

In his speech, Howlett said that violence is never necessary and
that this event informs students about the “amazing resources” the
Center offers.

Along with Howlett, several students spoke about personal
experiences and their views on domestic abuse.

Fifth-year Sociology student Steve Tran spoke out about his
first few experiences working with the Center and how he was
“unprepared for the harsh realities” he would face while
volunteering there.

Tran said that he was unaware of how deeply affected he would be
from listening to survivors of domestic abuse.

“I was under a veil that had just been uncovered,” Tran said, “I
couldn’t believe these things happened.”

Tran also related the issue of violence against women to that of
secondhand smoke and said, “just like secondhand smoke, those who
aren’t [first-hand]victims [of domestic abuse] are still
affected.”

While it was aimed toward men, there were also several women who
spoke out against violence.

Fourth-year English Education student Jenny Powell shared how
domestic abuse had been a pattern in her family.

After speaking about how her aunt was killed in a domestic abuse
fight, she called upon people to “come to a realization” that
domestic abuse is not an insignificant matter. Powell said,
“Talking openly [about domestic abuse] makes it less taboo. It
opens up peoples’ eyes and lets them know they can help.”

Mayra Lewis, coordinator for the VPWRC, said that the purpose of
the event was to encourage men to speak out against violence.

“We want them to realize it’s their problem as well,” Lewis
said.

The VWPRC collaborated with other on-campus clubs such as The
Education Against Abusive Relationships (T.E.A.A.R) and Men Against
Violence club to create “These Hands Don’t Hurt.”

Also at the activity were local shelter groups geared toward
assisting domestic abuse victims.

For information about groups that deal with domestic violence
and sexual abuse or to receive more information and help, students
can visit the Violence Prevention and Women’s Resource Center
located in Building 95 or contact the Center at 909-869-3112.

These Hands Don

Charlina Allen / The Poly Post

These Hands Don’t Hurt

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