WEAVE seeks to increase domestic violence awareness on campus

Lindsey Martin and Lindsey Martin

The crisis intervention provider Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment, or WEAVE, hosted a forum at American River College on Wednesday, Oct. 22 to make students more aware of domestic violence and bullying prevention initiatives.

WEAVE representative Brenna Lammerding, who works closely with ARC and other Los Rios district schools, gave a presentation on domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking to the less than a dozen students who were present.

“Having experienced some of this, it is a heightened sense of nervousness the whole time you’re there listening to it,” said Brenda Calmelat, a survivor of a 3-year physically abusive relationship and general science major at ARC who attended the meeting.

“It really is an uphill battle, but I do like that they are bringing in lectures and trying to get the message out there,” she added.

Lammerding stressed that power and control are what drives the abuser in these cases.

One in three women and one in four men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

“It is the most helpless feeling knowing someone who is in a domestic violence relationship and trying to help,” said Lammerding, who added that it takes an average of seven to eight attempts before someone truly leaves the abusive relationship.

The presentation covered ways that students can help people who are suffering from abuse by using phrases like “It wasn’t your fault” and “I believe you.” Lammerding reminded attendees that WEAVE is always available for help.

Sexual assault, especially on college campus, has recently been in the spotlight after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the “Yes means Yes” law that requires California colleges to adopt an affirmative consent policy.

“(Sexual assault) is already under reported, but especially by men because of all the stigmas surrounding men being raped,” said Lammerding.

The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, or RAINN, estimates that sixty percent of all sexual assaults go unreported.

WEAVE has developed a sexual response team, SART, a victim-sensitive program designed to provide a team approach to responding to sexual assaults in our community.

“These people really are survivors. because if they were victims they would be 6 feet under” said Lammerding.

For the Current’s reporting on the new sexual consent law signed by Gov. Brown in September, click here.