MiraCosta College Taking the Lead on Domestic Violence Prevention and Education


It began as a Day of Unity in October 1981 and was later expanded to Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1987. But at MiraCosta College, raising awareness of and combatting domestic violence stretches across the entire year with programs and events like One Love Bystander Intervention Training, The Clothesline Project, and a See it, Say it, Stop it initiatives woven into new student orientation.

“MiraCosta College has been exceptionally supportive of these efforts and initiatives and has been great about involving the entire community,” said Alexis Tucker Sade, an anthropology professor who, along with Psychology Department Chair Krista Byrd, is a founding faculty advisor to the student-run Women’s Club that sponsors numerous domestic violence awareness and prevention events throughout the year. Among these are:
  • The Clothesline Project is held every October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, usually during college hour, lets students paint a t-shirt with words of encouragement for survivors or a message to themselves or someone they know who has survived domestic violence. The Clothesline Project originated in Hyannis, Mass. in 1990, when members of Cape Cod's Women's Defense Agenda learned that during the same time 58,000 soldiers were killed in the Vietnam War, 51,000 U.S. women were killed by the men who claimed to love them.
  • A partnership with the One Love Foundation in staging campus events every October and April to train students in bystander intervention techniques in support of victims we know. Founded in 2010 to honor the memory of Yeardley Love, a senior lacrosse player at the University of Virginia who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend, One Love works with young people across the country to raise awareness about the warning signs of abuse. A training last year at MiraCosta College involved all student-athletes, male and female.
  • A Domestic Violence 101 workshop held in partnership with the Community Resource Center to discuss the history of the anti-domestic violence movement, types of domestic violence, and their impact.
  • An annual Time’s Up on Rape Culture Conference to facilitate conversation and raise awareness of issues around rape and sexual assault. Attendees learn how cultural values and ideas can perpetuate rape and/or continued victimization of the survivor. The event features survivors’ stories, spoken word poetry, workshops on healing and support, discussion groups on causal factors, information on bystander intervention, and more.
  • Training for all supervisors in the prevention of sexual harassment, including discussions about quid pro quo, hostile environments, and third-party harassment.
This fall, Communication Professor Rachel Hastings involved her mass communication class in a venture with the developer of an augmented reality basketball game, “Hoops to End Abuse,” that used basketball as a way to raise awareness about domestic violence among Black male teens. The app evolved a little more than a year ago from a basketball camp of the same name organized by a professor at California State University, Long Beach. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Hastings’ class has been creating content and promoting the app on Instagram.

“Hoops to End Abuse offers our students a wonderful opportunity to use the skills they have learned in making a difference in the fight against domestic violence,” Hastings said.

Such initiatives are a matter of life and death. According to San Diego Association of Government crime reports, 8,495 domestic violence incidents—which includes aggravated assaults and other offenses—were reported to law enforcement officers in San Diego County during the first half of 2020, a 3 percent increase from the 8,235 reported in the first half of 2019. Felony domestic violence arrests in the city of San Diego, meanwhile, are up nearly 18 percent this year compared to last year.

“It’s shocking to see how many people, especially of college age, who are victims of sexual assault and violence,” Sade said. “It’s our belief that we can make a change by bringing together everyone in the community.

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