Missouri State University hosted the 2019 Stop The Violence conference Thursday at the Plaster Student Union.
The conference was hosted by the Family Violence Task Force and was free for the 520 attendees thanks to a grant from Verizon Wireless. This year marked the first time the event was completely “sold out.”
“It’s all about increasing awareness and education on a issue that’s pervasive in our community,” Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams told OI. “It has been for a number of years but I think we’re making some inroads.”
Chief Williams noted the event being filled to capacity for the first time and credited the community for stepping up in the fight against domestic violence.
“[The attendance] is a good example of why we do this every year and we will keep doing it until the problem is eradicated,” the Chief said.
The conference featured two keynote addresses, one each from Dr. Jackson Katz and Dr. Chan Hellman, in addition to a series of breakout sessions.
Katz’s presentation, “Violence Against Women is a Men’s Issue”, addressed a wide variety of ways men can help in the fight against domestic violence such as challenging their peers when they hear someone being abusive; mentoring young men to treat women with respect & to not tolerate abuse toward women; and be an ally to women’s organizations who are working to stop domestic violence in the community.
The breakout sessions featured a variety of topics including media literacy as a tool in education about domestic violence issues; understanding victims and perpetrators by gender; and a session talking about the Greene County Family Justice Center and how it is actively combating the problem of domestic violence in the community.
Jamie Willis of the Family Justice Center said in their breakout session that the Center is already so filled to capacity serving the community that they will likely need to find a new building or space within a year to accomodate the need they’ve discovered in the community.