One in four American women will report a domestic violence incident by a partner at least once in their lifetime.
This is just one of many facts revealed to more than 200 people in attendance at the 3rd annual Tamara Williams Memorial Lecture held yesterday at East Hall.
The lecture was held in honor of University senior Tamara Williams who was stabbed to death by her boyfriend on the night of Sept. 23, 1997.
The featured speaker for the evening was Oliver Williams, executive director of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African-American Community at the University of Minnesota. Oliver Williams bears no relation to Tamara Williams but grew up in the same area.
Williams stressed the importance of recognizing a problem even before it surfaces in the form of abuse.
“The issue of being proactive instead of remaining reactive is one of extreme importance,” Williams said. “If you are going to create change, you’ve got to have the will to do it … communication, education and prevention are key.”
Williams’ lecture marked the first time a man had spoken at the memorial lecture, as well as the first time the issue of domestic violence in the African-American community was raised.
“More than Dr. Williams being a male, what’s significant is that his talk was directed at the African-American community both on campus and in a larger context, and that’s important,” said Alan Levy, Director of Public Affairs and Information in University Housing.
University Housing has closely followed the Tamara Williams Lecture and been a large part of it, mainly because Williams’ murder took place on Family Housing property.
“We had felt for some time after Tamara died that we needed to figure out a way that we could give some ongoing meaning to her life as well as ongoing meaning to her death,” Levy said.
Though the lecture was targeted toward the African-American community, the message spoke to a number of students.
“The lecture was something that everyone needed to hear because no matter who it was directed toward, these issues affect everybody, regardless of ethnicity,” LSA sophomore Lindsay Jolley said.
A few of Tamara’s family members were present at the lecture, including her uncle, Bruce Williams, and his fianc