Image from author. Top: R.I.S.E. speaks at WHS Taal’s Bollywood dance show, Izzat, to raise awareness about domestic violence.
October is known for a variety of events, such as Halloween, and for Washington High School, Spirit Week and Homecoming. However, most people are unaware that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is aggressive behavior inflicted by someone on their partner in either a mental or physical way, which is severely harmful, and in most cases, continues to affect the victim for years to come. As of October 18, 2023, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is officially recognized in Fremont, CA by Mayor Lily Mei. R.I.S.E., a domestic violence organization created in 2018 by Rishika Singh, Srishti Singh, and Shreya Sathish, has been working to educate students about domestic violence through a variety of events, most of which take place in October. Two of R.I.S.E.’s current project managers, Mahika Vohra and Nia Kuchekar, who are juniors at Washington High School, share their plans to impact the community by raising awareness.
When speaking about the students at Washington High School, Vohra brings up how “people do not realize how prevalent domestic violence is, or the long-term repercussions its survivors have to endure.” In support of her claim, she brings up how she has heard many people around her “jokingly make frighteningly violent comments such as, ‘I will rape you.’” From this statement, it is evident how many students do not take the issue of domestic violence seriously, due to their lack of education. However, R.I.S.E. hopes to change this over time, starting with this month and their many events.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is, as Kuchekar states, “a month for people to come together and mourn the lives that were lost to domestic violence, but also [to] realize if they or someone they know is potentially in a domestically violent relationship.” Through the variety of workshops, events, and fundraisers which R.I.S.E. holds, they hope to educate students more, as well as bring attention to this important issue and raise awareness in the community.
From October 30, 2023 to November 5, 2023, R.I.S.E. plans to hold a Domestic Violence Awareness Week at Washington High School. Throughout the week, they will hold a multitude of events and activities to help educate the student population. On Monday, they encourage people to wear purple, a color associated with support for domestic violence victims. Tuesday will include poster making during Flex in Ms. Thaler’s room. On Wednesday, R.I.S.E. has invited a delegate from S.A.V.E., a local domestic violence organization, to give a speech in the cafeteria. On Thursday, R.I.S.E. and Care4Kiddos will hold an educational workshop during Ms. Thaler’s Flex. Friday will entail an opportunity for students to sign a poster at the AMP during lunch, to showcase their support. Throughout the school week, they also plan to collect as many cash donations as they can to donate to domestic violence organizations all over the community. On Saturday, PAWS for a Cause will be held, in which the proceeds go to Narika, another domestic violence organization. Last of all, on Sunday, they plan to hold an educational, informational workshop on Zoom about teen dating violence with another local domestic violence organization, Maitri.
By holding these events, R.I.S.E. hopes to create a large difference in the community. Kuchekar states how even if the “events reach a small number of people comparatively, it can still make a substantial change in at least one person’s life,” which is the goal of Domestic Violence Awareness Month as a whole.
Anjika Singh is a junior at Washington High School, who has lived in Fremont, California her entire life. This is her first year as a part of The Hatchet, and she is excited to cover a variety of topics from reviews to school news through her articles. In her free time, Anjika enjoys dancing, reading, hanging out with friends, and watching movies and shows. In the future, Anjika hopes to go to college, but is undecided about what her major should be.