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Monday, September 28, 2009

Maverick Solutions raises awareness on intimate partner violence

Females who are 20 to 24 years of age are at the greatest risk for intimate partner violence, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

One in every four of these women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. The members of the UNO Voices Against Violence Task Force, in partnership with the Omaha YWCA, have teamed up with Maverick Solutions to educate the campus on intimate partner violence.

Maverick Solutions, UNO's student-run public relations firm, hosted a back-to-school barbecue on Sept. 10  to raise awareness on this matter.

Members of the UNO Voices Against Violence Task Force enjoy the film "Waitress." (Andrea Ciurej/UNO)

The event - which was held at Maverick Village from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. - featured an outdoor viewing of the romantic comedy "Waitress." Free hot dogs, soda and pie were be served to carry out theme of the film.

Students from lecturer Karen Weber's Critical Writing for the Mass Media course watch the film "Waitress." 
(Andrea Ciurej/UNO)

"Waitress," directed by Adrienne Shelly, hones in on the unhappy marriage of Jenna, a waitress who is trying to escape from her controlling and abusive husband. Jenna - played by "Felicity" star Keri Russell - bakes pies, which are named after the unfortunate happenings in her life. Jenna attempts to enter a pie-baking contest, which offers a $25,000 grand prize, so she can earn enough money to leave her husband.

Jill Sauser, Maverick Solutions co-director and event coordinator, said the film was chosen because it's an example of how a problematic relationship can transform into physical abuse.

Event coordinator Jill Sauser and Maverick PR President Cassie Prestia socialize before "Waitress" begins. 
(Andrea Ciurej/UNO)

"We chose the film 'Waitress' because it demonstrates how quickly emotional abuse can quickly turn into physical violence," Sauser said. "It is also a clear example of how crucial a role friends and family play in providing the victim with the courage to escape an abusive relationship."

Sauser said students need to understand that not all violence is physical in nature.

"Emotional abuse and mental abuse are forms of intimate partner violence, as well," she said. "Often, these can cause even more long-term damage."

A YWCA staff member moderated a brief discussion regarding intimate partner violence after the film. A drawing for a free iPod and other prizes concluded the event.

Sauser said that it was an honor to represent an organization who delves into the issues of intimate partner violence and alcohol abuse.

"It's an amazing experience to play a role in providing students with the knowledge and tools to prevent any type of violent relationship they or their loved ones may find themselves in," she said.

The idea of one in four college students being subjected to an intimate partner relationship is a "scary reality."

"Whether its date rape or verbal abuse, chances are high that at some point in our lives we will be faced with it in some form," Sauser said. "I want students and faculty to leave with the ability to recognize the warning signs of abuse and learn how to safely and successfully speak up for those who can't speak for themselves."

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