Convergence class brings awareness to domestic violence

By Rachael Renz
October 15, 2009

Shannon Keough

Every year students take the senior convergence multimedia class offered at Cabrini and each year they create something new and impactful. In the past, students choose to create their multimedia Web site on war, immigration and student activism. The class of 2010 has decided on a topic that may potentially benefit not only the general public, but more specifically, educators.

“We want to educate teachers on how to spot domestic violence. There are so many different aspects of this abuse that need to be acknowledged,” Molly Kearney, senior communication major, said.

The presence of domestic violence throughout the world has been affecting people every minute of the day. Most individuals have little knowledge that every nine seconds a woman is being abused. Most aren’t aware that there are more than five types of domestic violence and 10 different warning signs to spot the abuse.

Part of their research included the class venturing to the Laurel House in Norristown, Pa., which is a battered woman’s shelter that provides not only a home, but counseling to its victims. The shelter has nine bedrooms and 27 beds. The Laurel House also shelters approximately 200 women and 400 children per year.

On Thursday, Oct. 8, the convergence students met with Minna Davis, director of counseling at the Laurel House. To enlighten the students, Davis created a presentation and also showed short films on domestic violence. The presentation was titled, “Impact of Exposure to Domestic Violence on Children,” and included facts, definitions and statistics of domestic abuse.

According to Davis, 85 percent of victims of spousal assault known to the police are females and only five percent of men who abuse their partner finish counseling.

The students also learned that it is more common for pregnant women to be abused, which in turn, affects the baby because the mother’s body is tense due to the harm. The time that the abuse is the worst is when the victim tries to leave the situation.

These facts are among the many that were acknowledged during the four hour meeting. Noelle Westfall, senior communication major, said that she learned a lot from speaking with Davis that the class can incorporate into their Web site.

“I find this project to be eye-opening and mind-blowing. Our ultimate goal is to have our Web site be an online course for teachers to take as a requirement for their teaching license. I guide the students through this course but they do all of the work,” Cathy Yungmann, associate professor of communication and professor of the senior convergence class, said.

For every victim who goes to the Laurel House looking for help, the shelter gives them support. The police benefit from this help as well because the Laurel House raises the number of women who report their abuse, in turn raising awareness. The convergence Web site is just beginning its formation and will be completed at the end of spring semester in 2010.

“Thank you for doing all of this research. Hopefully one day you’ll change the world,” Davis said.

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Rachael Renz

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