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Women’s Center head discusses domestic violence

Posted outside UNK’s Women’s Center in Student Affairs, this board serves as an official welcome to all students. Photo by Kosuke Yoshii


October is domestic violence awareness month and is important because it happens all around us. There are places in Kearney like the S.A.F.E. Center, UNK counseling, and the Women’s Center that provide help and information for people dealing with domestic violence. 

Erica Con, the Coordinator for the Women’s Center discussed some of the signs and types of domestic violence that happen the most. Domestic violence can take place in many forms like physical, mental, emotional, sexual, financial, and stalking.

“For physical abuse, you can usually see bruises or if you notice someone is wearing a long sleeve shirt in summer to hide their bruises,” Con said. “They could also flinch easily or be jumpy, and these are signs that they might be hiding their injuries.”

Con pointed out that mental and emotional abuse can be more difficult to notice since there isn’t any physical damage that can be seen like with physical abuse. Low self-worth, seeming nervous, and always checking in with their significant other can be signs of emotional and mental abuse.

“Some other warning signs are when the person who is usually hanging out with their friends is being isolated and more reserved,” Con said. “Sometimes the person might not even be aware they are in an abusive relationship because they don’t notice the signs since it’s usually small and not physical things to notice.”

It can be difficult to notice signs without being around the couple and noticing their behaviors constantly. Con also says it can be awkward to ask if anything is going on between the couple.

“It may take up to several times for the abused to get out of the relationship. The person isn’t going to be able to leave right away but pointing out the little things is helpful to getting them started to notice that it isn’t a positive relationship,” Con said. “What I’ve noticed from being a support person is that you just have to stay with them and let them know you’re alvways there for them even if they keep going back to their abuser.”

The abused are often scared to leave their abuser because of safety concerns. The first 48 hours after breaking up with an abuser is the most dangerous time, especially for women. Physical violence is most common against women, but women can also be the abusive partner. It is more likely for women to mentally and emotionally abuse men, but most of it goes unreported.

“Men in our society are supposed to be strong and not dominated by women so gender plays a big role in how its talked about and how it’s reported as well,” Con said. “In LGBTQ relationships the fact that it isn’t a heterosexual relationship and not man and woman all the time, makes the dynamic difficult to talk about. People don’t view it as the same and treat it as the same because they don’t believe that power dynamic is the same.”

Domestic violence seems to be everywhere and can be hard to escape. The first resource that Con recommends for people in Kearney is the S.A.F.E. Center because they directly work with domestic violence victims. They provide shelter, counseling, 24/7 crisis line, support groups, and many other support services to help these victims escape their abusers and get help.

“We have a couple of podcasts coming out soon about domestic violence awareness that can be found at, which is the counseling office and the Women’s Center room number,” Con said. “I’m trying to start conversations that will bring these issues to light.”

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