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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Campus groups contribute to fight against domestic violence

Domestic+Violence+Awareness+Candlelight+Vigil
Photo by Morgan Engel
Domestic Violence Awareness Candlelight Vigil

Kaisha Baughman remembers the fear that overcame her the first time her husband abused her.
“I can remember it just like it was yesterday … He grabbed me by the arm, slammed me up against the wall, which took my breath away,” Baughman said. “He placed his hands around my neck and started yelling at me, saying that I didn’t know how to do anything right and that the washer had cut off, and I should’ve been right there to make sure that it was switched right away … I was so scared.”
Baughman, victim assistance coordinator for the Brazos County Attorney’s Office, shared her story at a candlelight vigil Thursday for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Her story is one of many.
In Texas during 2014, 132 women were reported killed as a result of domestic violence and over 150,000 family violence incidents were reported, according to the Texas Council on Family Violence. These statistics reflect an increase from 2013’s numbers.
College Station is no exception; it has had its share of reported domestic violence. In 2014, there were nine reports of on-campus domestic and dating violence and two reports of residential facility domestic and dating violence incidents, according to the latest Texas A&M Annual Security Report.
A number of College Station organizations against domestic violence will hold events for the remainder of the month to raise awareness. Consensual Language, Education, Awareness and Relationships, or CLEAR, will host “In Their Shoes” Oct. 29, which will shed light on the incidents of six individuals. And the A&M Green Dot Program, a program aimed at increasing bystander intervention, will host a bystander training session Oct. 25.
The Brazos County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an organization that has worked to address domestic violence in Brazos County since 1994, held its 21st annual domestic violence candlelight vigil Thursday. At the vigil, Baughman spoke about her own experience with domestic violence in front of a large crowd for the first time since her incident. Baughman said she hopes her story delivered a message to attendees.
“I think [the vigil] is an opportunity for people having an issue themselves to be touched, and understand that they are not alone and that there are people out there willing to help,” Baughman said.
Lt. Allan Baron of the University Police Department said domestic violence is a topic that is not openly discussed, and not often reported to the police.
“Domestic Violence Awareness Month not only helps raise awareness about domestic violence, but helps connect advocates, law enforcement, and other professionals in a collaborative effort to help reduce domestic violence,” Baron said.
Baron said the more openly domestic violence is discussed, like it was at Thursday’s vigil, the more effectively the community can respond.
“Education surrounding these issues is one of the key aspects of prevention,” Baron said.
Carol Binzer, director of administrative and support services for A&M, said there is nothing more valuable than the testimonial of someone who has “come through the other side.”
“For those of us who have just had blinders on, it allows us to not have blinders on anymore,” Binzer said. “The deniability factor of, ‘Oh, it doesn’t happen in Aggieland’ can go away.”

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