Domestic Violence Awareness Exhibition at Miron Student Center
Eight empty place settings on display in the atrium of the Miron Student Center (MSC) on an October afternoon delivered a solemn and important message to the Kean community about the need to recognize and combat domestic violence.
The place settings symbolized victims of domestic violence who will be missing from holiday tables this year. They included personal belongings of the victims, along with their stories, written by their family and friends.
For the display, Empty Place at the Table, Kean partnered with the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Union County.
“We created this table display because it makes it real,” said Kathryn Lynch, director of community support services at YWCA. “We can give out flyers, but this makes an impact.”
For some in the Kean community, the exhibition reflected real life. A freshman who prefers to remain anonymous recalled that a family friend overcame domestic violence.
“It’s great to see people putting their efforts out there to make a difference,” she said. “The stories displayed at the table are inspiring and provide a real message about domestic violence.”
The exhibition also included artwork — decorated shoes, masks and other pieces — created by children whose lives were impacted by domestic violence.
Kean students were asked post on social media to raise awareness about domestic violence and were given the opportunity to donate to the YWCA. The organization provides information and services to those in need, including legal assistance, hotline numbers, and emergency cell phones through their cell phone drives.
“We’ve formed this relationship with the YWCA because it’s important that Kean students know there are resources for victims and survivors of domestic violence,” said Nicole Rodriguez, Kean's director of Community Standards and Student Conduct. “As a community, it is our obligation to keep this subject in the forefront of conversation.”
In the evening at the Miron Student Center Little Theatre, actors read monologues written by survivors of domestic violence. A candlelight vigil and moment of silence at Kean’s Clock Tower ended the day-long event.
Anyone affected by domestic violence can get help by contacting the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct at (908) 737-5240; through the Kean Counseling Center, Downs Hall room 127, (908) 737-4850; or by contacting the YWCA at (908) 355-4357 (HELP).
The YWCA also offers free training courses for volunteers interested in working with people impacted by domestic violence.