As students prepare for midterms in the Michigan Union Study Lounge, a life-size image of Tamara Williams, a University student who was killed by her boyfriend on campus in 1997, looms over them as part of an exhibit focusing on victims of domestic and dating violence.
“The Silent Witness Exhibit,” sponsored by The Sexual Assault and Protection Center, is intended to teach members of the University community about the realities of domestic violence, said SAPAC”s interim director and Crisis Line coordinator, LaTresa Wiley. The exhibit, featuring silhouettes and short biographies of local victims of domestic violence, is on display in the Michigan League lobby, the Michigan Union study lounge and the Pierpont Commons atrium.
“The exhibit”s purpose is to remind the community of the effort we need to make to end domestic violence and to remind us of those who did not survive,” Wiley said.
“The point is really good especially because the women are so young,” said LSA junior Lane Clark.
“The fact that they”re from around here and that they”re our age are the most compelling things about this exhibit,” Clark said, but added that she was worried that not many students would view part of the exhibit “because it”s in (the Union) where people are studying.”
Students in abusive relationships can call SAPAC, which offers supportive services for members of the University community involving sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, sexual harassment and stalking.
Psychologist Jim Etzkorn, clinical director for University Counseling and Psychological Services, advises people who question the abusive nature of their relationships to seek help.
“If people are in doubt about whether they”re being abused or not, they should call a counselor,” Etzkorn said.
Etzkorn stressed that abusive relationships do not always involve physical violence. He said many times women who are systematically humiliated and degraded by their partners do not realize that they are being abused until they speak to a counselor.
“My message to people being abused is that unless they take some action things aren”t going to change. Without intervention it will either stay the same or get worse,” he said.
“The Silent Witness Exhibit” is a campaign to eliminate domestic murders in the United States by 2010. It can be seen through Oct. 29 at the University and will be shown in various locations across Washtenaw County.
Wiley said that people should attend the exhibit to see how they can get involved and help with the eradication of violence against women.
“I encourage people to attend to remember those that did not make is as a result of their partners,” she said.