Gender Equity Center to host events to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 02, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — October is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is marked annually by various programs, workshops and events to educate the Penn State community and raise awareness. This year, the Gender Equity Center’s programs and partnerships with members of the community are even more crucial, given restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have increased domestic abuse concerns worldwide.

Acknowledging this reality as well as the unique ways students are fostering connections in a hybrid-learning environment, the participatory action campaigns, speakers and awareness programming provided by the Gender Equity Center along with their partners, like Centre Safe, will provide creative ways for students and the rest of the campus community to get involved and promote awareness about this important, timely issue.

From a hybrid in-person/virtual Clothesline Project, with displays in both Pasquerilla Spiritual Center and Pollock Cultural lounge, as well as Penn State’s first ever virtual Clothesline Project; to a panel discussion with #WhyIStayed creator Beverly Gooden and model and trans rights advocate Geena Rocero; to the Purple Thursday participatory action campaign; the Gender Equity Center has provided unique opportunities and contexts for community members to learn about dating and domestic abuse as well as reflect on the ways they can promote change and a positive campus culture. 

“We know that domestic violence thrives on silence, especially now, as the silent pandemic within the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Becca Geiger, assistant director of the Gender Equity Center, a unit of Student Affairs. “Thus, we are refusing to stay silent on this topic, and provide awareness and support to victim survivors through the variety of program offerings throughout the month. Our goal is to help ensure no matter where or how a student is participating in their learning at Penn State this fall, they will have an opportunity to engage in our Domestic Violence Awareness Month programming to support classmates near and far who may have experienced or are currently experience violence and abuse.”

This month’s schedule of events include:

  • Beverly Gooden and Geena Rocero – Oct. 6 at 7 p.m., online. Beverly Gooden is the creator of the #WhyIStayed movement, and Geena Rocero is a model and trans rights advocate and activist. Both speak on this panel as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The event is free but requires tickets, and is sponsored by the Gender Equity Center, Penn State World Campus, and Student Programming Association.
  • Virtual Clothesline Project – held throughout the Month of October. Students and campus community members are encouraged to participate and create a shirt utilizing the instructions and t-shirt templates provided here. Shirts can provide words of support for survivors, stories of a personal experience or that of someone close to you, or messages taking a stand against violence. Submissions should be emailed to to be included in the display. Individuals can make shirts on their own or join one of the two virtual t-shirt-making sessions via Zoom on Oct. 6 at noon, and Oct.15 at 7 p.m. Interested community members can register here.
  • Zine Workshops for Activism and Action – Oct. 7 at noon, and Oct.13 at 7 p.m., online, with registration available here. This event is a partnership between Penn State Libraries and the Gender Equity Center to help students channel the passion and advocacy fostered by Domestic Violence Awareness Month into a creative outlet — Zines. In this workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about Zines and create their very own 8-page Zine.
  • In-Person Clothesline Project — To be held the week of Oct. 19 at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center and Pollock Cultural Lounge, a visual display organized by the Gender Equity Center to help give a voice to those who have been silenced by violence. The display in the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center will also include Center Safe’s Empty Place at the Table exhibit to honor and remember those in our community killed as a result of domestic violence.
  • Purple Thursday — to be held on Oct. 22 with members of the campus community being asked to wear purple and share pictures on social media and tagging @pennstategeneq, along with #PurpleThursday2020, telling followers why they are wearing purple and/or why they support survivors of dating and domestic violence. If individuals do not have social media, pictures can be emailed to Becca Geiger at and will be shared on the Gender Equity Page.

Follow the Gender Equity Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using @PennStateGenEq to stay up to date or visit Join the Gender Equity Center listserv by emailing

Last Updated October 05, 2020