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Wednesday, October 13, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 37

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Students aim to raise domestic violence awareness

By Nikie Johnson
Daily Cougar Staff 

Four million women in the United States will be battered by their intimate partners, and helping counsel those victims and prosecuting offenders of domestic violence will cost the country between $5 and $10 billion this year, statistics indicate.

In an effort to help increase awareness of family violence statistics on campus, students from the Graduate School of Social Work have teamed up with the Bay Area Women's Center to take donations for the shelter.


Barry Watson/The Daily Cougar


Ann Elder, second from right, accepts a donation for the Bay Area Women's center from psychology freshman Adelina Longoria on Friday as Turh Ibe (right) looks on. Students in the Graduate School of Social Work will operate the donation point Mondays and Fridays throughout October to help fight domestic violence.

Every Monday and Friday this month, volunteers will man a booth in the lobby of the Social Work Building to accept donations of toiletries, children's clothing, toys and food. Monetary donations are also being accepted.

The project was initiated by seven graduate students in the college. It began as a class project to increase domestic violence awareness on campus, and the students got the idea to help the Bay Area Women's Center.

Ann Elder, the student who is the driving force behind the project, said she can tell that many students who come to the booth have been closely affected by family violence.

"This hits close to home," said UH student Pete Medrano as he made a contribution last week. "I have a daughter."

The BAWS is a nonprofit organization that is supported in part by United Way. It provides shelter and nonresidential services to victims and survivors of family violence and sexual assault, Elder said.

It relies on donations and volunteer work to help women, children, and men. The students hope not only to help the shelter with material goods, but also to raise awareness at the University about domestic violence. To that end, they are passing out purple ribbons for students to wear as a symbol of fighting the violence.

"(The ribbons) send a very strong message, especially when men wear them," Elder said. "It shows other men that they know they can be in a relationship without violence."

The donation point operates from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Fridays in the Social Work Building. The booth can provide donors with a more specific list of needed items as well as information on where to go to seek help if they have been victims of domestic violence.
 

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