Domestic violence is a subject in today’s society that is often ignored and silenced. To combat the ignorance, RISE (Respect, Inspire, Support, and Empower) held its second annual Domestic Violence Awareness Week at Washington starting on October 21th to the 25th. Loosely based off the National Network to End Domestic Violence, RISE was created by DECA seniors Rishika Singh, Srishti Singh, and Shreya Sathish in 2016, and is designed to support victims of domestic violence and aid them towards financial independence. Because the club consists of high schoolers, members are highly discouraged from getting involved with the emotional or physical states of domestic violence victims. As an alternative, RISE focuses on strengthening financial stability for victims who are leaving their abusers. The students involved with RISE work with domestic violence counselors and volunteer at events to help victims of domestic violence. They assemble workshops with local shelters, including SAVE (Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments) and Abode. Some of the workshops include making LinkedIns and learning about the community college system. Rishika Singh mentioned that the business and marketing skills they learned in DECA helped them with the workshop presentations.
On October 21, there was a workshop at the women’s empowerment club presented by Julianna Danner-Vera. Focusing on the domestic violence cycle and how to look for safe relationships, she passed on life-saving information about teen dating violence, and how to avoid it. The next day, RISE held an event at the Fremont Main Library to read to a support dog. According to their Instagram account @riseagainstviolence, this was a big hit. Reading to a support dog is known to decrease stress and help support good mental health. Wednesday the 23rd was a national wellness day, and people around the country wore purple to show their support for victims of domestic violence. As the second annual domestic violence awareness week ran its course, even Mayor Lily Mei came to show support for the rally on Thursday. She spoke about resilience, and her pride for the students and teachers at Washington. RISE also held a fundraiser at I-Tea, raising about $60. With this and additional funding, RISE can raise more money for victims of domestic violence, and keep domestic violence awareness week running for many years to come.The week was a huge success for RISE and the National Network to End Domestic Violence. However, as the three founders are graduating this year, they are passing the torch to three new sophomores. In honor of domestic violence victims, Rishika Singh says, “we hope [Domestic Violence Awareness Week] will always be a thing at Washington.”