“#realtalk”: Dating Abuse Event Held
On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Alpha Sigma Tau, Sigma Tau Gamma, and The Social Work Alliance came together to address some real issues surrounding dating abuse. The resulting event, #realtalk, was one of many events that Frostburg State encouraged students to participate in during Domestic/Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Leah Chaney, who helped arrange the event, “wanted to have a discussion between students on healthy relationships, sexual violence, and dating violence.”
Gira Center room 397 was filled to the brim with students who were ready and willing to listen and share their own experiences and opinions with their peers. Emily Gamble, sister of AST, thought this event was important to host because “it’s happening. Right here, right in front of our faces. Dating abuse is happening and no one is willing to talk about it.”
Jennifer Schofield, member of AST, ran the forum by posing open ended questions to the audience and keeping the discussion moving in a productive way. Representatives from The Social Work Alliance, AST, Sig Tau, and Pi Lambda Phi sat on a panel at the front of the room and started the forum off by talking about consent.
Tamar Reese, of Sig Tau, started. “Consent is a clear yes. If you don’t hear yes, nothing should be happening.” His feelings seemed to reflect those of the crowd, and he got everyone off on the right foot to start discussing this sensitive topic.
Once the discussion was open to the audience, the room filled with tense emotions, some laughter, and some crying. Topics included in the discussion concerned everything from asking your significant other not to talk to his or her ex, to if it’s ok to assume someone in a long term relationship needs to offer consent before intercourse every time.
Privacy was also brought up and the room participated in an activity where Schofield separated everyone based on how much privacy they believe they should have with their significant other as it applies to their phone. In a day and age where we practically live on our phones, it was surprising to see how many students who were open to the idea of their significant other having full access to it.
Although opinions differed, a sense of solidarity filled the room. Several students even shared that they hadn’t even thought to qualify some of the actions we discussed as dating abuse. And that was really what the forum was all about. These topics that seems so taboo need to be discussed or else nothing will change.
In all, the forum was an interactive way to get students talking about problems that affect them no matter what race gender or sexual orientation. After the event ended, students filed out of the room a little more prepared and educated to have these real talks with their friends.