Poetry slam to be held for Domestic Violence awareness

By Amy McNeel | 10/8/18 9:34am

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Courtesy / It's On Us as Lakers

In 1981, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence coined October as Domestic Violence Awareness month. Since then, the month of October has been a time to educate people on Domestic Violence and support victims. 

This October, the Grand Valley State University It’s On Us As Lakers organization is partnering with Anchored in Poetry to present the Slamming the Stigma event. The event, which is taking place Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m., is an open mic night focused one spreading awareness on Domestic Violence. 

“We're putting on this event together in order to create awareness of domestic and sexual abuse,” said Rachel Syrba, President of Anchored in Poetry. “It's a creative outlet for survivors and victims, as well as being a learning experience for allies.” 

The poetry slam will be a safe, creative outlet for students to share their work. Attendees are welcome to share many different kind of works, from songs to poetry and spoken word. 

“The theme is Domestic Violence related, so some topics might be sensitive to some,” said Maddie Vervaeke, President of It’s On Us As Lakers. “But Domestic Violence is not the only thing that is to be talked about. This event will be in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Week.” 

All people are welcome to attend the event, whether they wish to share work or not. It’s important to note that this will be a supportive, judgement-free place for people to share their words and experiences. 

“This is a safe space. A space that is welcoming to all people in all states,” Vervaeke said. “There will be endless support and endless resources to help people who may need it. But we also welcome people who have not been in these situations to come with an open mind.” 

This event is an opportunity for GVSU students who haven’t experienced domestic violence to learn more about the affected community, as well as domestic and sexual abuse. Those who attend the event will walk away with new knowledge, and hopefully a better understanding of survivors.  

“People should attend this event to learn more about domestic violence and see how this personally effects individuals who are survivors of domestic violence,” Vervaeke said. “I think this gives a little more insight on this topic, rather, and the effects of it.”

Those who are nervous or skeptical about sharing their work are urged to attend the event and see how they feel when surrounded by other presenters. 

“We have found that the intimacy of this event does help encourage individuals that they are not alone,” Vervaeke said. “It is amazing how many people find it in themselves to walk up there and speak.” 

Overall, the event is an excellent opportunity to shed light on a prevalent issue in our society and stop some of the stigma surrounding Domestic Violence. 

“People should know that any of their work is welcome, and this is an uplifting community that's here to support you,” Syrba said. “Even if you attend and don't share your work, you're sharing in the moment with all of us who will be there.”

The poetry slam is taking place at the Kirkhof Center Area 51. Some topics may be triggering for certain individuals. 

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