Digital Violence Awareness & Ongoing Research a Priority for Criminal Justice Program

Seton Hill University’s Criminal Justice Club is hosting a weeklong series of events during October Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This will be the second annual week of awareness that the organization has hosted. 

“This year we are really trying to tie in more cyber domestic violence or how domestic violence has been impacted by COVID,” said Aliyah Good, a criminal justice major and president of the Criminal Justice Club.

“With everything that is going on, I think it is likely that people might not have even realized that domestic violence issues have escalated,” said Shavonne Arthurs, assistant professor of criminal justice and advisor to the Criminal Justice Club.  “Many aspects of the lives of everyday people have been altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are staying home now more than ever.” 

"It [digital violence awareness] is so pertinent to the time now, especially since we’re heavily relying on digital everything." 

“Last year we did a survey about student understanding of different types of domestic violence… from that survey, we learned that students actually don’t understand digital violence, what it is, what it entails, or even recognize it as a form of domestic violence,” added Arthurs. “It is so pertinent to the time now, especially since we’re heavily relying on digital everything. So this year’s survey will assess COVID-19 issues and how it has changed people’s dynamics and personal conflicts, as well as gauging students’ knowledge of these issues.”

Digital Violence Awareness Week will be held October 19 - 23 on campus and online, and will have many of the same events from last year, with some changes due to COVID-19. “Last year we did a candlelight vigil for survivors. We also had a table that had a different theme every day, and we provided resources there for that theme. So, one day it was domestic violence, another was digital domestic violence. We also had a keynote speaker last year who was a retired police officer and a survivor,” Good said.

This year’s events include an information table; a gift basket raffle with proceeds going to the Blackburn Center; a virtual TED Talk, “Honey I’m Good” by Mae Reale from the Blackburn Center; and a Prayer, Walk and Lantern Release. Seton Hill community members can also take a survey about perceptions of domestic violence and be automatically entered to win an Amazon gift card.

“Our number one goal is to bring awareness, but we also want to let people know that we are here for them as well as providing resources for them,” said Good. 

“What I always say,” claims Arthurs, “is that if we’re able to get through to one person then we will have done our job.” 

Photo, above: Criminal justice major and member of the Criminal Justice Club Larissa Walker at the digital violence awareness (and support services donation) table at Seton Hill.