Louisiana has one of the highest rates for domestic violence-related homicides, and NSU Director of Student Advocacy Lori LeBlanc wants to do something about it.
LeBlanc ensures victims and bystanders of domestic violence are provided the necessary aid through confidential advisers or student advocates. She stresses the importance of awareness, prevention and support. LeBlanc and the rest of her student activists are committed to making NSU a safe and welcoming campus.
Demons Support Demons Co-President Ashlyn Guidry holds the issue of domestic violence close to her heart.
“All of us have either experienced domestic violence as a victim or bystander,” Guidry says.
Guidry dedicates her time to ensuring NSU students have a safe place to be heard. She encourages faculty and students to speak out against domestic violence and believes that “as a university, we do not have to say yes to this type of behaviour.”
The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.”
Domestic violence does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race or sexual orientation and does not always refer to physical abuse. It also can include subtle controlling behavior, such as isolating or degrading another individual.
“Domestic violence is a huge issue in [Louisiana], and I see a great need to make students aware,” LeBlanc says.
Although Title IX is associated primarily with sexual misconduct, LeBlanc says domestic violence is also addressed.
Through Title IX, students have access to a strong support system that is dedicated to the emotional and physical health of all students. If an individual chooses to file criminal charges, advisers are on hand to assist during the legal process.
If an incident is reported and legal action is taken, all people involved have access to health and wellbeing counseling along with residence and academic assistance and guidance.
The objective is to further educate students so early signs of domestic violence are identified and reported as soon as possible. Students are encouraged to get involved and discuss the issue and can do so with groups on campus such as Demons Support Demons and through the outreach programs Not Alone and It’s On Us, for example.
If anyone wishes to report an incident, NSU offers a 24-hour confidential adviser hotline at (318) 357-5431.