Published October 10, 2022

Bringing Light to the Darkness 

Written by
Lydia Hoverson
| The Dakotan
Lisa Dooley, Title IV coordinator at Minot State University, stands by a sign bringing awareness for domestic violence during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)
Lisa Dooley, Title IV coordinator at Minot State University, stands by a sign bringing awareness for domestic violence during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

Minot State Hosts Domestic Abuse Awareness Month 


MINOT – Some may find it hard to talk about traumatic and abusive experiences they’ve had, but some places in Minot are working hard to bring awareness to these situations. 

Minot State University is all purple this month, to shed light on domestic violence, with October being nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month since 1987. 

Lisa Dooley, Title IV coordinator at MSU, said there will be various activities to honor the meaning of the month. 

“Every Thursday, we’re asking the campus community members to wear purple,” said Dooley. 

On October 12 at 6 p.m. the campus is planning a self-defense course at the MSU Dome, free for anyone, though Dooley is asking interested individuals to email her if they plan on participating. 

“If the class becomes too large, then I’ll host another event to make sure everyone has an opportunity to participate,” said Dooley. 

Minot State also offered free purple heart-shaped cookies last week for those who wore purple on Thursday. 

“The ribbons are strategically placed around campus with the little sign that says Domestic Violence Awareness Month, just to shine the light and remind people that October has been nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” said Dooley. 

One of the many ribbons strategically placed at Minot State University for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)


The ribbon idea came from a student who shared it with Dooley. 

“I kind of just ran with that,” said Dooley. “And created the sign and the ribbons around campus. We also have, in the student union part, a clothesline project as well.” 

The clothes are different colored shirts that were colored by individuals who have had different abusive experiences. 

T-shirts at Minot State University, decorated by anyone who is a victim of abuse, with the white representing those who have died from domestic violence, yellow representing those who have suffered from it, pink for sexual assault, and green for childhood experiences. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)


“They have another opportunity to reflect, and write their story onto the T-shirts that are displayed,” said Dooley. 

The shirts are displayed during the month of October, as well as April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

Dooley, who thought of most of these ideas since she started working at MSU in 2015, said she changes it up a bit every year, with the past few years hosting a Take Back the Night event. 

“Usually Take Back the Night is an event that I collaborate with the Domestic Violence Crisis Center and the social work club here on campus and we host that event in our Beaver Dam,” said Dooley. “A speaker comes and tells us their experience and how it has affected them.” 

Dooley believes it has gotten easier over the years for people to share their story. 

“I think with the MeToo movement and just these types of recognitions for these months, is that it just shows individuals that they’re not alone, and that they can come forward,” said Dooley. 

Dooley addressed concerns over the domestic violence cases that turn out to be false. 

“I know people will indicate that they just made it up,” said Dooley. “I think that’s less than one percent actually that individuals will indicate that something occurred, but it didn’t transpire. It’s unfortunate that those cases kind of make people not come forward because they feel like they’re not going to be trusted, and that’s not really the case.” 

Dooley said her office handles a lot of cases that fall under sexual harassment. 

“Under that umbrella entails domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and any type of sexual exploitation,” said Dooley. “That’s why in October we do Domestic Violence Awareness month, just to make sure our individuals on campus are aware that there is an office to support them. It’s so important to recognize that this does affect individuals.” 

Dooley described domestic violence as a “pattern of coercive control and abusive behaviors in any intimate or familial relationship that are used to gain and maintain power and control over another.” 

Domestic violence can take many forms, according to Dooley, including emotional abuse, economic abuse, isolation, or sexual coercion. She said it is those who are cohabitating, though she recognizes that dating violence is common as well. 

“In addition to the physical pain and suffering it causes, domestic violence can also negatively impact a victim’s mental health,” said Dooley. 

Dooley noted from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence that more than 10 million American adults experience domestic violence annually, with the statistics being one in four women and one in seven men. 

“I think sometimes we forget that it is prevalent in any community, and that it affects everyone, no matter their age, sexual orientation, gender,” Dooley clarified. “The stats will indicate that the majority of them are women, but I don’t want to forget about our men, because they are the ones who maybe perhaps aren’t coming forward. We tend to think that it’s between two married people and especially if they’re heterosexual, but we know that it happens to same-sex relationships.” 

Dooley said MSU is not free of domestic violence either, but she said her office is there to support those who suffer from it. 

“I think the important part is there is an office to support them and provide them with academic support, counselling, utilizing our community’s resources such as the Domestic Violence Crisis Center,” said Dooley. 

Dooley said recognizing this month lets those who have experienced domestic violence know that they are not forgotten. 

“I think sometimes those individuals feel like they’re alone,” said Dooley. “They’re not alone.”  

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