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Domestic violence spotlighted

The campus’ entry lights shine purple as SUNY Cortland highlights National Domestic Violence Month, drawing attention to an issue that claims victims across all age, gender, race, sexuality, religion, education  and economic levels. An average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute, equating 10 million abuse victims annually. 

Throughout October, members of SUNY Cortland’s It’s On Us Action Team will  join the student club Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) to raise awareness about interpersonal violence and offer resources to individuals seeking support.  

The effort includes a variety of campus activities and events: 

  • The annual Take Back the Night March is set for Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at the steps of Corey Union. The campus march is part of an international event aimed at encouraging people  to  actively fight to end sexual and domestic violence in all forms. The keynote speakers at Take back the Night will include Emma Secor, the Student Government Association’s representative to SAFER.  Students tired of walking  around campus should keep an eye out for  Consent Carts. These are golf carts that offer to drive  students  to on-campus destinations in exchange for a discussion  about consent and sexual violence prevention. One Consent Cart program occurred early this month and  at least one more planned.
  • Tables in the Student Life Center and Old Main will offer a symbolic reminder of the cost of abuse.  “An Empty Seat at the Table” display features  an empty seat and place setting as a reminder of  the lives lost  to domestic violence. On the plates and silverware are  facts about domestic violence and resources for those who need it.
  • There is also an ongoing social media “Red Flag Campaign” that illustrates how to recognize the different warning signs in relationships. 
Students during the 2019 Take Back the Night March.

The It’s On Us Action Team is comprised of students, faculty and staff. Its co-chairs are Deputy Title IX Coordinator Sam Halligan and Prevention Educator Marissa Whitaker.

"Domestic Violence Awareness month has been in existence nationwide for over 30 years, to connect individuals and bring awareness to this issue," Whitaker said. "Through raising awareness, celebrating survivors, and advocating for change, we can honor those who have lost their lives to domestic violence. All people deserve to have healthy relationships without violence. "

The team is collaborating with various offices on campus including Title IX, Residence Life and Housing, University Police Department and Health Promotion. The team also works closely with advocates from the YWCA’s Aids to Victims of Violence program, a community resource available to anyone impacted by domestic violence. 

SAFER is a student club whose main mission is to educate and raise awareness about sexual assault, domestic violence, and other forms of assault on campus and in the community. 

If you need help or simply want more information, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit its website at The New York state Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline can also be reached in most languages by calling (800) 942-6906, texting (844) 997-2121 or by chat at 

For local resources, there are university Instagram accounts for SAFER at sunycortlandsafer and It’s On Us at sunycortland_itsonus. For additional help, visit