Kayla Wardrope, a 19-year-old, first-year student at LCCC, has first-hand experience with domestic violence. Wardrope has recently ended a four-year relationship with her high school boyfriend. She talks about her toxic relationship and the damage it inflicted on her as a young student.
“The first two years of high school I did not get good grades,” she said, “I was so stressed out from bottling everything in and I never told anyone about how bad the relationship got.” Wardrope’s ex-boyfriend was controlling and would not allow her to speak with guy friends. “I ended up just doing whatever he wanted because I didn’t want him to get mad and hurt me,” she said.
To cope with the abusive relationship, Wardrope started reading inspirational quotes until she realized that she wanted to be happy again. She ended the relationship one month ago.
Wardrope’s advice for any woman suffering from a toxic relationship is to remember who they are. “If you want to be happy again surround yourself with people who make you feel good about who you are,” she said .
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “In the United States, an average of 20 people experience intimate partner physical violence every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually,” according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
A group was formed to raise awareness and prevent sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence. LCCC’s Human Resources and LCCC’s Women’s Link led the awareness campaign. Collaborators in the awareness campaign included Jeff Ellis’ International Karate Centers, Genesis House Domestic Violence Center, and Nord Center. Sexual Assault Services offer programs to students, faculty, staff and the community.
The Genesis House held a rally on Sept. 29 with activity tables, food, and a DJ. The Genesis House has provided nearly 2,000 nights of safe shelter for individuals fleeing domestic violence. The agency has a 24-hour crisis hotline. For additional information you can reach the Director, Virginia Beckman, at 440-244-1853.
LCCC students have several resources available to them on campus. Women’s link is a safe and confidential platform right here on campus, where students can go and meet with someone to discuss any issues they may be experiencing. “If any student has any problem please come to us,” said Cathy Shaw, an adviser with Women’s Link, “we are the problem solvers on campus.” Women’s Link is confidential and handles a wide range of issues for both women and men. “There is not a problem we won’t solve,” said Shaw. Women’s Link offers support with issues such as child care, legal problems, establishing credit, relationships, sexual assault, and more.