JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas State University wrapped up its Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Awareness week with a special vigil dedicated to victims who have died because of relationship violence.
The vigil, Hands are for Helping, featured speakers from different organizations that stand up against these issues.
Students joined together on the Heritage Plaza Lawn, where they lit a candle and listened to the stories of 31 men and women who have died in 2016 as a result of domestic violence.
"We just want to raise awareness and show support to those who have been affected by sexual assault and domestic violence," said Devin Nelson, student counselor, and event coordinator. "Last year, we read 27 names this year we are reading 31 so, unfortunately, this is something that is current and real and the best way to do that is get out, say something and speak up."
Nelson said there are 20 calls per minute that are placed on a domestic abuse hotline. She added, on average, 11.2% of men and women in college say they have survived sexual assault.
"This is something that is currently a problem," said Nelson. "It is not something that has stopped in the 1950's. I want them to know that we are here together and even if some people did not experience this, I want them to understand that they are not alone and that there are resources available to get help."
As a part of their last event, Hands are for Helping, a hand was painted on a tablecloth representing someone who pledged to be violence free in relationships.
Nelson says she would also love to see the city of Jonesboro partner with ASU for more events to raise more awareness.
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