ACES programming educates about relationship violence


Alyssa Donnelly , Assistant News Editor

This fall, Buena Vista University has offered several Academic and Cultural Event Series programs on the topic of relationship violence. Statistics show that around 25% of women and 10% men experience some form of relationship violence.

According to University Counselor Mike Walker, if students are experiencing relationship violence of any kind, they are encouraged to speak to a faculty or staff member as these situations can be dangerous. Walker emphasized the importance for students to understand their campus resources, including places they can go to report an incident concerning relationship violence.

“Any faculty of staff member that the student has a comfortable relationship with can likely be a good candidate to go for help. The student can always reach out to campus security as well,” Walker said.

Walker also noted that as a part of BVU’s community, nearly every faculty and staff member is also a mandatory reporter, which means if you do speak with them, they are obligated to report the incident to campus authorities.

“If they become aware of a situation that has occurred, they are obligated by law to report it to campus security,” he said.

However, if students would prefer to talk with someone who is not a mandatory reporter for any reason, there are three people on campus who are able to maintain confidentiality: the campus chaplain (Ken Meissner), the campus nurse (Tami Laursen) or the campus counselor, which is Walker.

Walker said his office can provide assistance in a variety of ways to students who are experiencing relationship violence.

“We can help students work through any physical or emotional distress they may be experiencing and maintain confidentiality. We can also help explain the different options they have in reporting the incident if they would choose to do so,” Walker said.

BVU will continue to hold ACES events about relationship violence focused on both physical and emotional abuse. Students can watch BVUNews to be alerted to upcoming events and become educated on these situations.

“If you have experienced relationship violence of any kind, please come talk to me in the counseling office,” Walker said. “My hope is to provide emotional support for victims and to help them understand that they do not have to suffer alone. There are many options we can employ to ensure their safety. For those who have not experienced it firsthand, but are aware of it happening, please encourage them to come talk with me.”