New women’s center coordinator says more people should talk about domestic violence

Hewkin's offers three tips for staying safe - on and off campus

Published Oct. 17, 2011

Charlotte_HewkinOctober marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an issue not enough people talk about, says Lynn University’s new women’s center coordinator, Charlotte Hewkin.

“Many people think domestic violence would never happen to them, when in reality, it could happen to anyone,” said Hewkin. “Domestic violence knows no bounds. Having an awareness month makes people think about it, and helps us as professionals to educate others on the seriousness of it.”

By providing a variety of educational programs and events that engage students in learning about issues college women face, Lynn’s Women’s Center helps create a campus culture that values all women, their diverse identities and their experiences.

In addition to giving women a safe place to go and someone to talk to about issues they may have, the Women’s Center provides victim advocacy to students, staff and faculty. The center offers crisis intervention, emotional support and referrals to anyone who has been the victim (on or off campus) of dating/domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

To stay safe – on and off campus – Hewkin suggests:

  1. If abuse is occurring in intimate relationship, do not isolate yourself; alert those you trust about what is going on.
  2. Come to the women’s center and get information on safety planning, local resources as well as the civil and criminal process.
  3. Take a self-defense class.

Raising awareness for healthy relationships and overall sexual heath are top priorities for the Women’s Center this year.

“Many college students may be experiencing their first intimate relationship while in college,” said Hewkin. “A high number of these students have never been educated about what is acceptable in a relationship or about safer sex. Therefore, they are more at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).”

According to Hewkin, “mutual respect, honesty, trust and communication are the keys to a healthy relationship.”

More on Hewkin:

Hewkin, coordinator of the women’s center, is new to Lynn this fall. She has been a victim advocate since 2004, when she began her professional career. Prior to Lynn, Hewkin served as victim services program specialist for the Office of the Attorney General, Child Predator and Cyber Crime Unit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In addition, Hewkin spent six years (January 2004 – October 2010) with the University of Central Florida’s Victim Services.

Hewkin can speak to the media regarding the health and safety of college women including: sexual assault, stalking, dating/domestic violence and tactics for educating the local community and a campus on these topics.