Domestic violence: A first-world issue

9-25 Rescue Her Foundation Fashion Show (Ariana Berkemeier)  (13 of 13)October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and Weber State is taking part in raising awareness.

On Thursday, the Women’s Center hosted the Rescue Her event, which included a dinner, fundraiser, fashion show and candlelight vigil. The event was held in the Union building ballrooms with over 125 attendants.

Jackie Ostler, the director of the gathering, said the Rescue Her event was designed specifically to support an organization that fights human trafficking nationally and internationally. This was her second year hosting the event at Weber.

The models at the fashion show were of all ages and sizes.

“The girls are from 12 to mid-40s. We want to represent real women, and help women of all sizes and ages and ethnicities to recognize their own personal beauty,” Ostler said.

All the proceeds from the event go toward the Rescue Her foundation.

“Clothes are on loan from local stores for the show in order to raise funds,” said Teresa Holt, the Diversity Program coordinator. “We want our models to be able to say (with their clothes that) they are fighting for a good cause.”

At the candlelight vigil, the Rescue Her event partnered with the Women’s Center to honor the women who have been victims of human trafficking. Women lit candles around the duck pond and spoke their minds about domestic violence.

The founder of the Rescue Her organization, Josie Carnignan, was at the event to talk about why the organization exists and why they need help. Over 80 percent of human trafficking targets women, and the best thing anyone can do to prevent this is to spread awareness.

“We wanted students on this campus to recognize that you have to be aware of the people you are connecting with,” said Ostler.

She emphasized that it is best to keep your eyes open and remained educated.

“Utah is one of the only states in the country that has a dedicated task force just for sex trafficking,” said Holt. “The focus has been to educate the community about it, because it’s not just young girls who get caught up in the nature of (sex trafficking).”

Ostler said the best way to get students involved is to spread the word.

“When we bring the darkness into the light, it loses its power. The more educated the students can become about what to look for, the more things will begin to change,” she added.

As an act of standing up to domestic violence, women are encouraged to participate in the White Ribbon Campaign by wearing a white ribbon throughout the month. The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union formed in 1873 and uses the white ribbon as their signifying badge. By wearing the ribbon, women can spread awareness of domestic abuse.

The Women’s Center newsletter lists facts to keep the students informed. According to the site, “Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.”

This number only continues to grow when action is not taken.

Ostler emphasized that something needs to be done about the nature of domestic violence. “This is not a big-city problem or a third-world problem,” said Ostler. “It is happening right here in Utah, and it needs to change.”