SCCC support services promote dating violence awareness

Cheyenne Miller, Reporter

From casual flings to serious, long term relationships, most students will explore dating at some point during their college years. While exploring can be an important part of the college experience, being conscious of what’s healthy and what isn’t when it comes to romantic relationships can be even more essential.

That’s why support services at Seward County Community College have organized an event promoting healthy, respectful relationships as part of Dating Violence Awareness Month. Students who wear orange, bring a friend, and pledge to “love better” on February 27 will have the opportunity to win prizes, eat cookies, and support healthy dating practices.

Organizers of the event hope that participation will ultimately facilitate a better understanding of dating violence amongst students.

“We’re hosting this event to spread awareness–to try to make sure that students are aware of their safety, and know where to go for help,” said Annette Hackbarth-Onson, Dean of Students at SCCC. “I really hope we’ll be able to educate students about what’s healthy and what to do if they’re faced with something that isn’t.”

Liberal Rape Crisis Center advocate Maria Munoz, who also has high hopes for the event, anticipates that raising awareness might inspire students in toxic relationships to take back control.


Wear orange and show your support for healthy dating.

“The more we bring awareness to these issues through things like this event, the more likely students will be able to get help when they really need it,” Munoz said.

As SCCC’s LARC advocate, Munoz knows why it’s so important for college campuses to shine a light on dating violence and unhealthy relationships.

“Sometimes, people don’t even understand what’s going on. They don’t know they’re being abusive, or they don’t realize they’re being abused. People need to know what to look for and how to deal with it going forward,” said Munoz.

“Knowing that there are people on campus who will help you be healthier in your relationships and who care is another important part of this. If there’s anything I can do to help a student, I’ll do it,” added Munoz.

Students who have already adopted the healthy dating practices that faculty members want to promote may find that their relationships are, in fact, happier.

“Communication really is key for a happy relationship,” said Anali Chacon, a freshman education major from Liberal who has been dating her boyfriend for three years. “And, of course, a lot of trust–you have to know that they’re with you for a reason.”

For students who might struggle with maintaining a healthy relationship, Chacon has some advice.

“Talk it out. Deal with it, and be vocal about your feelings. That’s why being aware is so important. That can really help, but don’t be afraid to get outside help either,” said Chacon.

Munoz urges students, regardless of how happy or unhappy their relationship is, to participate–not only on the 27 but every day.

“If you want to be an advocate when someone comes to you with this stuff, believe them. Coming forward is brave, and they need to feel supported. It’s okay to not know exactly what to say–just support them,” said Munoz.

The event is open to all students and will be held in front of the Student Success Center on February 27 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.