VAMP hosts a domestic violence seminar



During the Violence Against Wo(men) Program, each of the following panelists were introduced. They were Courtney Bullock, Velatrica Destiny, Shelly Peed and Aisha Jameson. The event was held in the Ralph Abernathy Hall Auditorium.

Brionna McCall, University News Reporter/Writer

The Violence Against Wo(men) Program (VAMP), held a domestic violence seminar Oct. 13. The program is meant to coordinate and implement sexual, domestic, dating and stalking (SDDS) violence services and programs for the university community.
Speaker Renee Beavers informed students about what healthy, rich relationships look like. “Everybody always tells you that you have to love yourself, but what does that look like? Loving yourself means that you know yourself,” she explained. “So many times we don’t realize that the way we communicate sends off a message. Sometimes it may not mean what we mean it to be. Sometimes it’s our body language, sometimes it’s our tone, and so it’s just important to be understanding. If we’re going to have healthy relationships, it starts with the reflection in the mirror.”
According to Beavers, communication delivery is important to talk about because it is a difference between being aggressive and assertive. “The only natural reason for the aggression is lack, it’s poverty, it’s not having what you need,” she said. “For those of us who live in this beautiful country, there is no need for us to be aggressive, and the goal is to be assertive. Being assertive means that you know what you want, you know what you need and you know how to communicate that to somebody else.”
“It is important that you realize one, that you are more than enough. You bring value, you bring purpose, you bring ideas, you bring solutions,” Beavers said. “Your identity comes from something bigger than you, so if you know that you’re more than enough, then you know that you will have to settle for someone trying to take something from you that you’re not willing to give.”
A healthy relationship does not look like one person dragging someone else. “A healthy relationship looks like you choosing each other, and you coming together to enjoy each other,” she said. “It’s not pursuing to the point where you just feel like you’re exhausted, it should be reciprocated. Relationships should go both ways.”
During the seminar, student participants introduced the speakers, who were there to speak on their experience as domestic violence victims. The student participants included: Miss Alabama State University Aleah Robinson, Miss Sophomore Ferrin Lewis, Desaree Pittman and Chloe Banks.
The speakers introduced were Courtney Bullock, Velatrica Destiny, Shelly Peed and Aisha Jameson.
Bullock spoke about her domestic violence experience with her ex-husband. She explained how she was physically and emotionally abused by him, and Destiny told students her story about how she was domestically abused by her family and at-the-time partner.
Peed was not a domestic violence victim, but she spoke for her late niece, Megan Montgomery, who was killed by domestic violence in 2019.
“Megan’s life was extinguished by her abusive husband… Megan didn’t recognize the signs of an abuser, she didn’t recognize the red flags,” she said. “She met her soon-to-be husband when she was 29 years old, and she thought he was her prince charming, her soulmate. She thought they had the same values, the same beliefs, and later, she learned that was all a lie.”
According to Peed, victims do not recognize the red flags until it is too late. “The criminal justice system failed Megan,” she said. She asked for a PSA, which is protection from the abuser’s order, and to take her husband’s gun. Her husband was a policeman so the judge refused to take his gun because he was a policeman.”
Peed mentioned that her niece called the police on her husband several times, and nothing was done. According to Peed, the last time Megan called 911, her husband was arrested but was out on bail the next day.
“The judge postponed his case for 213 days, he killed Megan on day 211,” she said. “If her case had been taken seriously, Megan would still be with us today.”
Jameson got emotional as she talked about her experience falling victim to emotional abuse from her now ex-husband “I have a post-it note to this day on my wall that says ‘make it through the day,’” she said. “I have plenty of masks that I put on because those are scars that you cannot see. Emotional abuse is real.”
According to Jameson, she never heard the term narcissist until she met him. “A narcissist is a very manipulative person. They need admiration, they’ll always have to have a sense of entitlement and they’re controlling,” she said. “I didn’t know what it was at first. I would always tell my therapists ‘he’s just so mean to me and he acts as if he hates me,’ and all the while I just dealt with it.”
Jameson lets students know that it’s okay to go to counseling because she knows that in the Black community, we may just push it under the rug or just choose to not talk about it at all. “Counseling does not make you weak, it is actually showing you strength,” she said.
“My counselor told me that it was abuse, and I didn’t know it. I just knew that it didn’t make me feel great,” she stated. “Now, I call it what it is, abuse.”
Lt. Reginald Smith, who works for the university’s police department, informs the students of the campus police availability if they ever run into an issue on campus involving domestic violence. The campus police are available 24 hours, seven days a week.