Empty Place Settings Represent Victims of Domestic Violence


As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Kean University collaborated with the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) of Union County to host the 10th annual An Empty Place at the Table exhibition and performance at Kean’s Miron Student Center on Thursday, October 26.

“An Empty Place at the Table gives us an opportunity to inform students of the prominence, signs and dangers of domestic violence, and brings awareness to the services and resources available to them within and beyond the University,” said Nicole Rodriguez, director of Kean’s Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct.

Held annually at Kean, An Empty Place at the Table is designed to increase awareness of the inherent dangers of domestic abuse and to remember the victims and the impact their loss has had on their families and their communities.

Dinner tables featuring empty place settings representing actual victims of domestic violence who lost their lives at the hands of an intimate partner and are now missing from their families’ lives were on exhibit throughout the Student Center lobby. Beside each plate was a letter, written by loved ones in the voice of the victims, to give insight of their circumstances to passersby––students and staff who stopped to view the powerful displays.

Janice Lilien, chief executive officer of YWCA Union County, noted the importance of hosting these events on college campuses.

“Young women ages 16-24 are at the highest risk of domestic abuse,” she said. “YWCA works to convey the message to young people about the lethality of such relationships, to show how to recognize all types of abuse, and to let young people know that there’s help when needed.”

As part of the day’s events, Kean students and members of the community presented The Next Chapter Monologues, short plays inspired by true stories of domestic violence, at the Miron Student Center Little Theater. The event was brought to a close with a musical tribute and a candlelight vigil remembering those who have lost their lives to domestic violence.

For more information, contact Rodriguez at nrodrigu@kean.edu or (908) 737-5243.


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