HIGH POINT, N.C. – There's a group of college students at South University in Guilford County who refer to themselves as, "The Empowering Four."
Tonya Baker, Lisa Bowman, Lori Hoover and Medina Hunter attend the High Point campus and take classes together.
The ladies decided to give themselves that name after starting an awareness week on campus called, "Domestic Violence Education and Prevention Week," where they organized several events with the help of the campus honor society, Delta Mu Delta.
The women spent several weeks planning what is the first domestic violence awareness week on campus -- which consisted of a donation drive, several guest speakers, community events, a cookout and a self-defense class.
"The goal as a part of the four girls who started this was to make a difference in at least one life and we have by far succeeded our goal. We have talked to many people who have come up to us just to share their stories, we have had people come up and say, "hey, I have a friend in need' or they're in need. And through the great information given to us by the county and local groups, we have been able to provide educational information and collect donations for victims," Hoover said.
The group has a booth on campus where they are collecting donations and handing out educational materials through the end of the week. They've received hundreds of donated items that will be given to local domestic violence resource centers that distribute items to victims, including The Sherri Denese Jackson Foundation and Family Service of the Piedmont.
Students and staff at the university are the primary individuals donating, while they've also received items from the community.
"Sometimes you don't have anything to take with you when you are leaving out of a domestic violence situation. You're just going with the clothes on your back and so we're taking donations to give to people in that situation. From clothes, food, toys for children, to toiletries and anything that a family could use in a crisis," said Dr. Kymm Watson, Department Chair for the College of Business. "We did it because we felt like it was important that our community knows that we are here, that we are not just a building, that we are not just here to say come to South University."
Part of the reason why organizers are doing this campaign is because of local and national statistics that pertain to domestic violence.
The Guilford County Family Justice Center is a go-to location for many domestic violence victims in the county, because victims can start the complaint process while also exploring their help options. Director Catherine Johnson provided the following facts:
- - Typically 30 people come to the center a day seeking help with domestic violence.
- There's a growing number of victims who are female between the ages of 18-24.
- The gender demographics of victims the center helps are 80 percent female and 20 percent male.
For victims of domestic violence in the county, you can reach the justice center at (336)-641-7233.
Facts provided by The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, states nationwide, domestic violence hotlines can receive more than 20,000 calls a day.
"We came up with this awareness campaign because we all have seen friends or family that's gone through it," Baker said.