This fall, with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, more than 30 of Susan Wolfgram's students headed off campus to five sites in west-central Wisconsin. They spread the word that acts of domestic violence can be prevented and that everyone needs to break the silence and talk about the issue.
Their efforts coincide with No More, a national awareness campaign supported by leading domestic violence and sexual assault organizations from around the country.
"Our students joined in the national conversation in saying 'No More' to the silence that surrounds domestic violence," said Wolfgram, an associate professor in the human development and family studies department.
According to No More, one in four women and one in six men are sexually abused before age 18. Domestic violence from spouses and partners affects 25 percent of women. One-third of teenagers are sexually or physically abused or threatened by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
The five groups of UW-Stout students conducted awareness outreach programs at three schools, a jail and an ex-offender facility. The presentations reached about 200 people.
"They used interactive activities, including role-playing, and videos grounded in current research in the field. One primary message is that 'men are part of the solution,' " Wolfgram said.
In addition a sixth group of students is working on the annual Hope for the Holidays concert Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Waterfront Bar and Grill in Menomonie. The concert benefits Bridge to Hope, a domestic violence and sexual assault agency in Dunn and Pepin counties.
The outreach projects and UW-Stout students involved are:
- Menomonie Middle School: Hannah Kaiser, of Eau Claire, project manager; Hannah Anderson, of Stillwater, Minn.; Caitlin Featherman, of Osseo; Lao Pao Moua, of Wausau; Staci Moldenhauer, of Eau Claire.
- New Richmond High School: Megan Kollross, of Milladore, project manager; Jessica Hartman, of Bloomer; Caitlin Lennartson, of Stillwater, Minn.; Erik Olson, of Amery; Samantha Secraw, of Colfax; Bao Vang, of Stevens Point.
- River Falls High School: Sara Gilbertson, of Menomonie, project manager; Dustin Dowling, Chippewa Valley Technical College; Michelle Holman, of Oregon, Wis.; Megan Gunderson, of River Falls; Brittany Lemay, of Chippewa Falls; Yer Yang, of Eau Claire.
- Dunn County Jail: Mandi Shurtleff, of New Richmond, project manager; Mikayla Dhein, of Green Bay; Laura Hanson, of New Auburn; Nicole Nerud, of St. Paul; Ted Wayne, of Durand; Brenna Weinberg, of Hudson.
- Eau Claire Transitions Center for Ex-offender Re-entry: Joseph Spanel, of Cameron, project manager; Callie Fike, of Hudson; Karla Hanson, of River Falls; Jessica Morrison, of Tomahawk; Linda Vu, of Menomonie.
- Hope for the Holidays: John Sholund, of Merrill, project manager; Sarah Bjork, of Elmwood; Jazmin LaPlante, of Green Bay; Ashley Oliver, of Plover; Devi Stoffregen, of Coon Valley.
All UW-Stout students except three are majoring in human development and family studies. Olson is majoring in vocational rehabilitation, Wayne in manufacturing engineering and LaPlante in family and consumer science education.
For more information on the human development and family studies program, go to the website.