As part of its annual observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, UCF hosted a forum Wednesday, Oct. 7, to honor the lives of domestic-violence victims and promote healthy relationships. The event, NO MORE: An Intentional Conversation to End Relationship Violence, was sponsored by UCF’s United Way Campaign.

“Relationship violence is an issue relevant to ourselves, our families and friends, and our community,” said Tee Rogers, coordinator of UCF’s United Way Campaign. “It is crucial to the health of our university and community to have intentional conversations and to support solution-focused community resources.”

According to a survey by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, one in four women and one in seven men have been the victims of physical violence by an intimate partner.

Moderated by Karen Hofmann, director of UCF Counseling and Psychological Services, the expert panelists addressed questions from their unique perspectives. The panel included Michael Freeman, counselor and professor; Adam Pritchard, professor of sociology; Bibi Brown, crisis specialist with United Way 2-1-1; Katelyn Busowski, domestic-violence survivor, advocate and UCF student; and Christine Mouton, director of UCF Victim Services.

In addition to the panel discussion, Heart of Florida United Way, UCF CARES, UCF Victim Services, domestic-violence survivor and author Debra Perleberg, Harbor House of Central Florida, Help Now of Osceola, and SafeHouse of Seminole provided resources to prevent domestic violence.

Additional events are planned for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in the Clothesline Project, a national effort to give survivors of domestic abuse an opportunity to speak out against domestic violence by decorating a T-shirt. T-shirts are free and can be decorated from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays during campus Market Day. The shirts will be hung inside the Student Union throughout October.

If you have been involved in intimate-partner violence and would like to speak with an advocate, you can reach one 24/7 by calling 407-823-1200. For ongoing counseling and support, contact UCF’s Counseling and Psychological Services at 407-823-2811.

During October, UCF’s United Way Campaign raises funds for health and human service programs that provide critical care and assistance.