Tuesday, UT's Zeta Delta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority hosted a forum on domestic violence entitled "AKAknowledge the Violence. Stop the Silence. The Domestic Violence Forum."
Briana Tate, a junior majoring in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, said the forum intended to inform attendees of an issue often kept under wraps.
"Domestic violence is one of our initiatives with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated," Tate said. "This is also Domestic Violence Awareness month and we just wanted to inform the campus, from our chapter, and make sure we do our part in the community."
Issues discussed during the forum ranged from recognizing signs of emotional, verbal and physical abuse, to dealing with a loved one suffering from abuse.
Alle Lilly, director of programs at Knoxville's YWCA center, advised audience members to understand what constitutes abuse and how to recognize an abusive situation.
"Education is really important in preventing violence," Lilly said. "Educating the community on signs of domestic violence and ways to help folks that may be in an unhealthy relationship is important."
Knoxville's YWCA serves victims of domestic violence through its Victim Advocacy program.
"Our main program is Keys of Hope Women's Housing Program, which is a one-stop shop for people experiencing domestic violence," Lilly said. "They can meet with law enforcement, child protective services, legal aid and advocates."
According to statistics published by the YWCA, one in three girls is a victim of abuse and young women between the ages of 20 and 24 are the most vulnerable age group to domestic and dating violence.
"I did not know that there were 70 percent of women in the world that are affected," Tate said. "I also found out that there are more ways than just physical abuse that people can be affected and affect other people."
For Valencia Jennings, junior in human resource management, the forum was a valuable opportunity to open outlets of discussion for victims.
"I do think it helps to spread the word around campus because a lot of things I didn't know about it," Jennings said. "A lot of people are scared to speak up, so telling people or informing people, they can tell their friends, and hopefully get them out of the situation."