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by Kalamalama staff


As part of their Social Movements class, 11 HPU students are raising awareness about domestic violence with other local organizations that provide resources to victims.

The students, who are full-time workers, military spouses, part-time workers, and parents, voted for a topic and domestic violence was picked because it’s not only a local issue but a global one. The mission of the project is to raise awareness on domestic violence through education, especially among HPU students.

“ For those students who have experienced domestic violence, seen it, or know someone who is involved in it and felt like no one cares, we have news,” said Melanie Guenthenspberger. “Your voice is heard.”

Students involved in the project educated themselves by attending domestic violence court sessions at the Family Court. They are also visible at the downtown campus with booth activities on Fridays, and participate in several events, such as the Men’s March 2008, which occured earlier in the semester.
During the annual Men’s March Against Violence, approximately a hundred men, women, and children gathered to march from the Father Damien statue, through downtown and then circled back for a press conference at the Queen Lili‘uokalani statue. Men’s March was not only a great opportunity for participating group members and other students, but for legislators, law enforcement, church, and military to speak up.

“ I was amazed to see so many men marching for this cause as they are usually in the background,” said Mahealani, a local student.

“Not only did so many officials show up, but the active participation by students from various schools made me think that we are doing the right thing,” added Guenthenspberger, who is part of the project group.

Another success for the project group was to see victims of domestic violence stop by and check out the resources the group offers at the students booth on Fridays at the downtown campus.

“ It almost brought me to tears when they thanked me for doing this,” Guenthenspberger said. “I had to thank them, because they were so strong and survived this.”

The group’s agenda for November is to volunteer at GirlFest Hawai‘i. GirlFest’s goal is to change peer culture in order to prevent increasing violence against women and girls through education, art and positive representations of women. The festival incorporates film, music, art, spoken word, and dance complemented by a conference involving panels, lectures, and outreach workshops for children and adults that address themes such as body image, identity, empowerment, social change and methods on how to prevent violence in relationships.

In December the project group will host a food and clothes drive at the downtown campus and donate the collected items to a shelter that supports domestic violence victims.
For more information of any of the upcoming events, visit the group’s booth on Fort Street.



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