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Writing to fight domestic violence

Jamare Davis and Abby’s House aim to bring visibility to interpersonal violence

Sam Dunaway | News Editor

Western student Jamare Davis picked up a pen and notepad in the summer of 2017 and began writing, expressing his thoughts and feelings on an issue that he’d witnessed firsthand and one that he believed all people should be aware of: domestic violence.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men will experience physical abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Davis, a senior criminal justice major, recognized this issue and sought out ways to make it more visible.

“If it was more publicized, I feel like people would be more aware of it,” Davis explained. He commented that, all too often, people are afraid to talk about it.

Davis has been an advocate at Sable House, a domestic and sexual violence resource center, since August 2017. There, he helps answer phones and organize donations. Additionally, he worked as an intern at Abby’s House, the Center for Equity and Gender Justice at Western.

When training for his advocate position, Davis struggled with the issue of domestic violence.

“How can people do this?” he remarked. To process his thoughts, Davis started writing poetry that addressed interpersonal violence.

It was Davis’s poem, “A Piece of Her,” that sparked the conversation to hold an event that brings the topic of domestic violence to light and allows individuals to creatively express their feelings, as Davis had done with his writing. With the help of Aislinn Addington, director of Abby’s House, a working group was formed that consisted of several individuals that felt passionate about this topic and wanted to contribute.

The “Hear Me Now” event was held on March 5 in the Willamette Room. Contributions included poetry, painting, mixed media and a dance performance. The gallery was open for students to view all day, and performances in the evening were open to whoever wanted to share their work.

When first writing his poem, Davis didn’t think he would be reading it for an audience months later. But he was just one of the many performers that evening.

“I didn’t think that I was going to be involved in it,” Davis said. “I’m still in awe.”

“Hear Me Now” gave students and community members the opportunity to express themselves and address the issue of domestic violence in an artistic manner. Davis’s poem and the numerous other works of art displayed at the event helped to spread awareness and visibility of this topic and inspire positive change against domestic violence.

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Photo by: Paul F. Davis