York College Hosts Domestic Violence Panel

Brian Dworkin, from Queens Legal Services, and Sharon Hawkins, from the Health Services Center, talked with York Students about recognizing warning signs for domestic abuse. (PHOTO BY ROSANNA SINGH)
Brian Dworkin, from Queens Legal Services, and Sharon Hawkins, from the Health Services Center, talked with York Students about recognizing warning signs for domestic abuse. (PHOTO BY ROSANNA SINGH)

York College with the help of Queens Legal Services and the Health Services Center held a domestic violence panel discussion last month to inform faculty and students about the role and influence of domestic violence within our society.

  Brian Dworkin, from Queens Legal Services, and Sharon Hawkins, from the Health Services Center, led the panel in an in-depth discussion along with a performance by the York College creative arts team “Project CHANGE.”

 Today, domestic violence plays a dynamic role in the lives of many men and women which presents itself through the forms of physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse from their partners.

  “People are desperate to find love, and people fall into a trap where nobody validates them,” said Hawkins.

  Both Hawkins and Dworkin went on to explain that abuse is never passable, regardless of the situation or the gender of the person.

  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2010 study “Prevalence of Violent Crimes Among Households with Children,” about 2.8 million children lived in a household where at least one member experienced a violent crime.

  A 2007 report by the same agency, “Intimate Partner Violence in the United States,” concluded that one-third of all female homicide victims in the United States were killed by an intimate partner. Thirty-eight percent of battered women will be victimized again within approximately six months, according to the survey.

  The panelists explained that for many people, unless a partner has been physically abusive, they don’t consider themselves victims of domestic violence. However, it is just one of the many ways that a partner may use to achieve power and control in a relationship. While women are usually seen as the ones who are usually abused, men are abused as well especially verbally and emotionally, and at times it is physical as well. The panelists stated that the negative influence of friends, peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and unsettled family disputes are often responsible for the abuse that a lot of victims face.

  Dworkin claimed that there has been an elevation of domestic violence in young people’s lives and social media is often attached to the forms of abuse that young people face from their peers and partners.
“The influence of social media has resulted in a lack of respect,” said Dworkin. “Financial problems and infidelity are not enough of a foundation to withstand pressure, relations tend to crack and people, they lash out at each other.”

Hawkins pointed out that there are many signs of abuse in relationships, and the key sign is fear of your partner, and feeling helpless around your partner is a sign that a relationship is abusive along with a partner belittling the other or controlling them.

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