Laura Schachtner | Contributing Writer
Picture four women that you know. Now picture eight men. Chances are, one of those four women and one of those eight men has suffered from relationship violence at some point in their lives.
“One in every eight men and one in every four women will be the victim of some form of relationship violence in his or her lifetime. This includes sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence,” Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Wind Goodfriend said.
Goodfriend has recently co-authored a book entitled Voices of Hope: Breaking the Silence of Relationship Violence, which is composed of ten stories about relationship violence, all written by the victims themselves. Excerpts from nine of these ten narratives have been used to write a play, soon to be performed right here on campus.
Goodfriend’s coauthor, Pamela Cathey, was a catalyst for this new literature. Spurred on by her exit from an abusive relationship, she founded the Institute for the Prevention of Relationship Violence and is currently serving as its president. Cathey and Goodfriend, the Institute’s principal investigator, decided to take on this project in order to educate the public about this much too common occurrence and to help victims cope with the traumas they have suffered.
According to Goodfriend, this benefits the public and the authors as well. According to the Institute, all the victims involved in the making of this book were able to profit from what Goodfriend calls “narrative therapy.”
They spent seven months processing their experiences with one another and writing their stories down: a unique form of therapy. “The process of writing your story and sharing it in a public setting is a very therapeutic and cathartic process,” Goodfriend said.
According to Goodfriend it offers a “message of hope” that one does not find elsewhere. “This differs from programs that say how it ruins lives. Victims of violence are resilient and can survive that experience and come out stronger,” Goodfriend said.
In order to raise more awareness, Goodfriend and Cathey have turned their book into a play.
“The show can be independent of the book,” Goodfriend said.
People don’t have to spend money in order to be aware of the pervasive presence of this issue. In order to have the problem of relationship violence placed in the forefront of someone’s mind, all one has to do is simply watch the actors retell the victims’ stories.
If you are interested in either the book or the show, you don’t have to wait until the April 26 performance date.
Cathey will be on campus herself to talk about relationship violence on Wednesday, April 25, at 4 p.m. in Room 126 of the Estelle Siebens Science Center. In addition to gaining more knowledge on this topic, students can also benefit by receiving ACES credit.
You can also get involved by auditioning for the play, Voices of Hope, on Monday, March 19, or Wednesday, March 21, in Dixon Eilers 209 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be five rehearsals through April, and actors only need to come to three of them in addition to two tech rehearsals before the actual performance.
Those of you who aren’t interested in being onstage should plan on being in the Underground on Thursday, April 26 at 4 p.m. Goodfriend and Cathey will be raffling off two of their books at the play. Raffle tickets cost $1.00 each, so if you go watch and buy a ticket, you may be one of those lucky audience members who receives their book for free.