Dear Campus Community,
October is Domestic Violence Prevention Month (DVPM), and as we close out the month, we want to honor survivors and amplify the prevention of relationship and domestic violence.
To survivors in our community: We write with an unconditional message of support, this month and every month. Your courage and power inspire us. We know how difficult it can be to seek support, recognize harm in a relationship, or pursue a path toward healing. But you are not alone, there are many local and national resources available to you and ready to assist you every step of the way.
- For 24/7 urgent support, call the confidential Care Line at 510-643-2005.
- If it’s difficult to find privacy for a phone call, consider using the chat-based resources provided by the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Hotlines.
- Supportive measures are available to both employees and students, this includes assistance with academics, housing, and protected leave to seek care, protective orders, and more.
- Every person deserves support, consider exploring additional resources, including confidential support as well as reporting options
- As a community, we can prevent relationship and family violence. It is our responsibility to work together to prevent those around us from using harm and violence - it's never a survivor's fault or responsibility. With our collective, concerted time and efforts, violence is 100% preventable; we can transform norms and behaviors and make prevention a reality. If you are concerned about your own behaviors causing harm, read about resources or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
It’s on us to create a culture of equity and respect for all. And there’s good news! According to UC Berkeley’s MyVoice Survey results, the overwhelming majority of Berkeley community members listen and express support to a friend or colleague who is experiencing relationship abuse, such as controlling behavior, from a significant other (89% of undergraduates, graduate students, and staff; 86% of faculty). Below, we share markers of healthy relationships and how to support survivors.
In healthy relationships, partners:
- Have mutual trust and independence; they give each other the freedom and support to engage in activities and spend time with people of their choice outside of the relationship, knowing relationship agreements will be upheld.
- Honor all aspects of each other’s identities and experiences: race and ethnicity, gender and pronouns, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation, immigration & documentation status, socio-economic background, language, size and appearance, and more.
- Communicate their physical, mental, financial, sexual, and emotional needs and boundaries safely, knowing they will be met with acceptance and not used as leverage, intimidation, or fear.
- Speak to, and about, each other in ways that are kind and affirming. Partners can disagree, have conflict, and engage in uncomfortable conversations respectfully, without shaming, guilting, intimidation, volatility, or aggression.
- Are accountable for any negative impact they have on each other, even when they didn’t intend it. For example, acknowledging their own actions without shifting blame, apologizing sincerely, and changing future behavior.
- Are able to let loose, laugh together, and be themselves — the relationship is nourishing, supportive, and validating. Relationships are not easy and fun 100% of the time, but in healthy ones, partners consistently work together on improvements.
- Embody respect, consent and listening, open communication, and agency. Consent is active, continuous, and can be withdrawn at any time. Check-in with and respect your partner’s boundaries.
There are resources to help you, a colleague, or friend:
- All students--graduate, professional, and undergraduate--as well as employees--academics, represented, postdocs, and staff--can access UC Berkeley’sPATH to Care Center
- If a friend tells you that they have been impacted by relationship violence, stalking, and/or sexual violence and harassment,provide support, connect them to a trusted resource, or offer to sit with them while they reach out.
- Survivors feel most supported when they are believed, listened to, and empowered to make their own decisions to feel safe and comfortable.
- If you are a university employee, review responsible employee obligations and be prepared to share the limits and expectations of your role.
- Where responsible employee obligations do not apply, you can also support and respect them by maintaining their privacy and accepting their choices, regardless if you agree with them or not.
- And remember to seek wellness resources for yourself as well.
Throughout Domestic Violence Prevention Month and the rest of the year, we encourage everyone to do their part in creating respect and equity. Together, we can prevent intimate partner violence from happening in our UC Berkeley community and beyond.
Dania Matos, J.D.
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion
Director, PATH to Care Center
Executive Director of Civil Rights and Whistleblower Compliance
Interim Title IX and Director of the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination
Associate Vice Provost for the Faculty
Special Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor on Sexual Violence/Sexual Harassment
This message was sent to all staff, faculty, and students.