The Domestic Violence Network came to the University of Indianapolis to moderate a domestic violence panel on Oct. 28, in UIndy Hall C. Higher education professionals, university students, local service providers and a survivor of domestic violence came together to examine domestic violence in the media and respond to it.
The panel intended to answer three questions: “Does sexism cause domestic violence?”, “Why does society forgive celebrities who commit domestic violence?” and “How do we raise awareness in an age of social media outrage?”
The Domestic Violence Network brought in a few mediators to go through a PowerPoint presentation containing the three questions, along with other images and quotes from domestic violence survivors or experts, to prompt the panel to respond.
One of the slides included a picture of Bill Cosby. Cosby has had several women come forward to accuse him of sexually assaulting them.
The picture of Cosby, along with some of the mediators’ comments, prompted the panel to discuss how the public forgives celebrities because people put them on a pedestal and do not want to believe they are capable of doing something like what Cosby has been accused of. Dr. Dre was used as another example of someone accused of assault.
Another item the panel discussed was the root of domestic violence, power and control, and how that relates to sexism. The mediators from the Domestic Violence Network used Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s sexual encounter as an example of a man of power taking advantage of that power.
Sophomore psychology major Andi Bailey attended the event because she wanted to learn more about the media aspect of domestic violence.
“What we put out in public is really important, because people can go off [of] that,” Bailey said. “Different people can make you believe things that aren’t true and make you have skewed views.”
Bailey said that she enjoyed how the panel would discuss a topic and a few students would interject with their opinions or questions. She said she liked how that would get the panel talking even more, but it is also something that Bailey wished was different.
“I feel like if it was kind of like an open discussion about it, that would have been better,” Bailey said. “I know I had a couple questions in my head, but there was never a good time to bring it up.”
There also were some things that Bailey learned at the panel discussion. Bailey said that the celebrity cases that were presented did not come to mind, specifically the women celebrities’ careers suffering.
“They get persecuted, and the male who has done the act didn’t have to suffer, especially when the women don’t even have the choice to get beat,” Bailey said. “And that just really surprised me.”
Bailey said her favorite part was when the survivor on the panel, Mandy Boardman, shared her domestic violence story. Boardman said that her now ex-husband was drugging her while she was sleeping and then videotaping himself raping her. Boardman said that he was convicted, but the judge on her case gave her ex-husband only eight years of house arrest. Then the panel member sitting next to her, who was a prosecutor, asked the judge’s name, and she answered him and then repeated it louder for everyone to hear.
“I just thought it was really funny because she was pointing it out [the judge’s name] because judges are elected officials. It’s almost like she was encouraging everyone to vote against him,” Bailey said.
One of the points Boardman made during the panel was that if parents taught their children respect, it might help diminish the number of domestic violence cases. This is something with which Bailey agrees. “True love doesn’t hurt,” she said.