Zuleika Gonzalez, artist and national advocate for domestic violence survivors, will speak to the Radford University community about familial abuse, in order to raise awareness about sexual mistreatment on Oct. 20 at 5 p.m.
Gonzalez is a highly accomplished artist and photographer, founder of a non-profit organization called “Voices of Survival” and also the founder of the organization named “Community Action Stops Abuse” or CASA. Voices helps at-risk youth and survivors of trauma as a result of sexual abuse, according to Survivor, Artist, Advocate and Motivational Speaker: Zuleika Gonzalez.
Gonzalez will visit the Radford University campus to speak to classes about sexual violence and what you can do to prevent it or strategies for helping someone who is being domestically abused.
“I think emotional and psychological abuse occurs equally to either gender. But when it comes to physical abuse, men are almost always the culprits, although there are many known incidents where women have been too,” said Radford University junior Kyle Strang.
From Oct. 21 through Oct. 23, Gonzalez will display a multimedia photographic series based on her own experiences with domestic abuse she calls, “Bruised but Not Broken: An Epic Journey of Healing, Recovery and Triumph” in the RU Art Museum located in downtown Radford, according to Radford University News & Events. There, Gonzalez will talk about her journey from surviving the abuse to overcoming it.
Radford University freshman Marissa Momchilov talks about why Gonzalez used her photographic series to portray her experiences with sexual abuse. “Maybe she [Gonzalez] wanted to show people her own experiences and show people that it’s not a good thing to go through,” said Momchilov.
Gonzalez focuses her audiences on young adults because that age is where most of sexual and domestic violence begins in relationships.
“They [people in abusive relationships] should express to their family and friends that they are going through this and need help and maybe get some counseling. Also report it to the police!” said Momchilov.
Strang also comments on what people who are experiencing sexual violence should do to attain help.
“They [people being sexually mistreated] should make friends and relationships with people cautiously and not rush in based on first impressions of a person or things that a person could manipulate you into wanting to hear,” said Strang.
Gonzalez’s visit to RU and the Radford community celebrates Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and is sponsored by the RU Art Museum, the Scholar-Citizen Initiative, and the Department of Criminal Justice, according to Radford University News & Events.