Counselors to talk Oct. 23 on domestic violence

NIU Counseling Association logoThe statistics are startling.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three women and one in four men have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking in their lifetime. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, 1 million acts of domestic violence occur in the United States each year, with up to 10 million children serving as witnesses.

During the time it has taken to read the previous sentences – about 20 seconds – two women in the United States have been assaulted or beaten.

Indeed, domestic violence and sexual assault is more common than women, men, families, educators and lawmakers want to believe. Until the last century, women and children were treated as legal property of men, and thus, there was a cultural acceptance of family violence.

To this day, there is a remnant cultural discomfort about discussing domestic violence openly, even when it is directly observed by friends, family and community members. Domestic violence against men is even further stigmatized as a topic of conversation. Statistics concerning males are assumed to be under-reported due to perceived threats to the victim’s sexuality or masculinity.

The NIU Counseling Association will address these topics and more in the first in their line-up of fall programming, scheduled at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, in Room 423 of Graham Hall.

NIUCA will host “Providing Safe Passages: Counseling Survivors of Domestic Violence,” presented by members of the education and counseling staff at Safe Passage, DeKalb County’s domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, advocacy, and resource agency.

Marj Askings and Lanay Riley

Marj Askings and Lanay Riley

Marj Askings and Lanay Riley will give attendees an understanding of the unique needs of domestic violence survivors and their families, their presenting concerns and ethical considerations for counselors.

A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation. It is free and open to all but might be especially useful for counselors, psychologists, educators and those in the allied health professions. Email mramirez4@niu.edu for more information.

Scott Wickman, a professor of counseling at NIU and a former domestic violence counselor, spent parts of his clinical career working with perpetrators to end the cycle of violence.

“The prevalence of domestic violence is alarming and unacceptable. As a former domestic violence counselor, I have seen first-hand the impact of working with abuse perpetrators and survivors to stop the cycle of violence,” Wickman says. “The counseling skills in working with these populations require competence in both recognizing unexpressed issues from the past and proactive prevention of future abuse.”

Safe Passage provides a wide range of services to victims of domestic and sexual violence including crisis intervention and medical advocacy for victims of domestic and sexual violence, short- and long-term housing for victims and their children, counseling, legal advocacy, children’s services, community education, a batterer’s intervention program and a Latina outreach program.

Scott Wickman

Scott Wickman

With locations in DeKalb County, the agency offers presentations and training sessions to individuals, area schools, colleges and universities and community groups for information and/or speakers on all aspects of domestic and sexual violence. The local crisis hotline is (815) 756-5228. The National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.

The  NIU Counseling Association’s fall programming enhances and augments in-classroom dialogue and expands clinical understanding of the diversity of the modern counselor client base.

Led by new President Erin Sherrill, the NIU Counseling Association is a chapter of the Illinois Counseling Association based in the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education. The organization is devoted to counselor professional identity development for students in the northern Illinois region.

Participation in NIUCA is open to any student interested in the counseling profession. For more information on NIUCA or ICA, email elisa.woodruff@gmail.com.

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