Active Minds, a student organization that focuses on empowering students to speak openly about topics related to mental health and overall changing the stigma around mental health, has recently hosted an event on domestic violence.

Active minds flyer

Topics that were discussed that evening included early signs of domestic violence, effects of domestic violence, how to be an ally for those who have experienced domestic abuse, as well as bystander intervention.

Irene Smith

Irene Smith, a domestic abuse attorney with experience working in the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, the Community Law Center in Baltimore, the Maryland Disability Law Center, and the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, was the guest speaker at the event. Ms. Smith has represented victims of intimate partner violence in high conflict divorce and custody cases, persons with mental illness in state psychiatric facilities in matters related to civil rights violations, disenfranchised communities, and victims of domestic abuse including physical and sexual assault. Due to her wide range of experiences in domestic abuse cases, she provided the best tips and recommendations when it comes to this topic of domestic abuse.

domestic abuse slide

One important point that Ms. Smith has made during the event was that in an abusive relationship, the abuser often wants the victim to believe that they are powerless, and therefore attempts to control every aspect of the victim’s life. If the victim attempts to take their power back, the abuser tends to be physically or sexually violent towards the victim. Therefore, the victim begins to believe that it is safer to stay in the relationship in order to survive. Understanding these complicated dynamics would allow us to be an ally.

Thank you Ms. Smith and Active Minds for hosting this insightful event! To stay informed with more events from this club, you can follow them on Instagram @activemindssu or email them at activemindsclub@stevenson.edu.

Written by: Semira Nock