Student writers explore domestic violence

Posted: Monday, April 28, 2003

The Women's Resource and Crisis Center recently announced the winners of its Sexual Assault Awareness Month Poetry-Essay contest. Area high school juniors and seniors were asked to write an essay or poem to answer the following questions: "What can I do to eliminate sexual assault-dating violence in my school or town?"

The winners were Donna Dobson and Aprel Rogers of Kenai Alternative High School, who each submitted essays, and Lowell Perry of Soldotna High School, who submitted a poem. The winning submissions are printed below:

Donna Dobson

Domestic violence is an issue in our community that needs to be acknowledged. Not only do we need to acknowledge who is being hurt, we also need to help who is doing the hurting too. We need to address the problem with a plan, a solution and maintain the ability to help these people who are being hurt or are hurting our friends and our families in our community.

Setting up a safety plan for people who are involved in domestic violence is kind of complicated but is a good tool. Since each issue deals with different situations, each person needs to have a place they can go to calm down and think rationally about the problem. The safety plan should also include setting aside extra clothing and other personal items that may be needed in a situation where you may need to get away quickly. Setting up a code for friends and family that will notify them to call the police or take immediate action will also help. Notify neighbors about the situation and possible problem. Most importantly, people need to realize the signs when any situation is accelerating into an abusive one.

Once all that has been done, people in our community need to be not so judgmental. We can't always tell when someone is having a lot of problems, so we need to help not add to them. Don't judge a book by its cover. Even the happiest people in society have major problems at home! We need to notice some signs of someone distancing him or herself.

We have anonymous help lines if anyone needs to talk to or relate to about their situation. We also have a crisis center and a hospital for help and lots of other options for people who are involved in domestic violence. We also have things to help people who have loved ones involved in those kinds of situations. The best advice I can give anyone who is involved in a domestic violence situation is call for help and get out, then make sure the person doing those things gets help.

Aprel Rogers

Domestic violence is something that people deal with every day and don't even realize it. People are getting put down, sexually harassed and even physically beaten. I'm a very strong woman and even I have been in at least one of these situations before. But I'm writing to you now to tell you some ways to prevent a situation like this.

First of all, you have to realize you are in this type of situation. Questions you could ask yourself to find out are: Do you feel threatened, does he/she ever hit you? After you're done talking with him/her do you feel worthless? When he/she touches you are you willing or is it uncomfortable? If any of these apply to you, you need to get help.

There are plenty of people that get help out of these kinds of predicaments. I would like to offer you some suggestions. First of all, you could talk to a counselor who could help you regain some self-esteem to get away from that person. There are also authority figures like police that can offer you some kind of help. Our community also has a hot line or you can contact the Women's Resource Center.

Now, to help the people in our community learn more about domestic violence, we need to start with the youth, because they are the future. TO educate our children, it would be nice to have a class on preventing domestic violence, where they would be able to learn how to prevent it or know when it is happening to them. I believe if you educate the children on what is and what isn't acceptable behavior, it will help. They also need to learn how not to be the aggressive one. If we could get a human relations class for kids they would know what type of body language is proper and it could also teach them how to talk to people without being intimidated or intimidating them.

Now to all the adults out there, we need to have more of a drastic punishment for domestic violence to show them it is a serious criminal act and nothing to think light about. It is going to be harder to talk to adults because they already have ideas about domestic violence set in their mind. To educate them, we should have some type of seminar to explain to them that this kind of behavior is not acceptable in our community. I really don't have that many suggestions on how to help our adults, because they are already set in their mind on what they believe is right and wrong, but if we could get to our children they still can be molded into a better person.

Lowell Perry "The Fortress"

My love is a tower That holds me high Above the world below.

Controlled by its power, I touch the sky, Grasping clouds I wish to know.

The horizon is wide For directions. Beneath the blood-red sunrise,

Every inch I have tried, Course corrections Are truth defeated by lies.

Upon a precipice, I've built a shrine To an untruth for love's sake.

I long for loves release From all its kind Of cage my ignorance make.

Bastions of forgiveness Could not keep warm Love from cold reality

Waves unfelt painfulness Foreran a storm that drowned all my fallacy.

The wide ocean of life Crushed my sea wall And freed me from my isle.

Marriage to love not wife Has a great fall. A person walks the aisle.

I look through the rubble Of my lost love And tower that has fallen.

For my taken trouble To find my love, I see a hurting person.

I've a thousand questions I'll never ask, For love asks but life heals.

Learned through truth's narrations, A love that lasts, True life's approval seals.

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