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Violence against women focus of upcoming panel

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One in three women in the U.S. will experience physical violence, sexual assault or stalking by an intimate partner, according to a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new IUPUC organization is raising awareness of these issues locally with a panel discussion featuring people who deal with violence on the front lines.

“Voices Against Violence” will address acts of domestic and other violence against women at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Columbus Learning Center Lecture Hall & Auditorium.

Panelists include Domestic Violence Action Team members, a sexual assault nurse examiner, police officers and a director from Turning Point Domestic Violence Services.

The event is organized by IUPUC’s newest student organization, the Feminism Club.

“We believe awareness promotes activism and activism encourages change,” club president Bailey Moss said. “Our members want to educate the campus and surrounding community about gender-based violence in our own backyard.”

Panelist Darla McKeeman, director of client services and training at Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, will bring local numbers into the conversation.

Turning Point provides information about safety planning, assessing family situations, legal advocacy, crisis intervention, case management and goal planning.

The agency worked with 470 families in Bartholomew County last year. Across its eight-county region, Turning Point served 899 families,

offered 4,750 nights in a shelter and provided 760 prevention presentations.

McKeeman said this panel discussion will raise awareness, which leads to prevention.

“While we focus on victim safety, we want to get in front of the problem through a primary prevention effort,” Mc-Keeman said.

McKeeman is glad she has a new partner in that effort with the formation of the Feminism Club, she said.

The group was formed in January, and its aim is to educate the IUPUC camps about social injustices toward women.

The club also hopes to enlighten people about their definition of feminism: “A movement for social, cultural, political and economic equality of women.”

“Our goal is to flesh out common misconceptions about feminism while uniting IUPUC as an educated force advocating for change and equality,” Moss said.

She hopes this open discussion — including a brief question-and-answer session afterward — will spur that change.

“By talking about injustice and preventing violence against women, we can help attendees take steps to change the local culture and reach out to those who might be survivors with support and help,” she said.

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