A group of nursing students hit an Anchorage bike trail Sunday, not for exercise, but to enlighten those passing by on the serious topic of interpersonal violence in Alaska.
The event, called “Swear to Care”, was created to educate the public about interpersonal violence. The UAA nursing students are hopeful others will learn what to look for when it does happen, and how they can help stop and prevent it.
Interpersonal violence in its many forms affects far too many here in Alaska, and the nurses gathered along the trails near Westchester Lagoon want everyone to take notice.
“We're not targeting any one population,” said Dr. Angelia Trujillo, an assistant professor of the UAA Nursing School. “We're not targeting victims or suspects or nobody. We're targeting anybody who's where because we find that it's the general population.”
“Swear to Care” is a capstone project for seniors in their last semester. Several booths were set up by the students to each represent a different kind of interpersonal violence, but the students are quick to remind passerby that anyone, from children to seniors, can be a victim of violence.
“And it’s scary,” Trujillo explained when asked how to prevent further violence. “Those interventions can be really scary, and so we give you options.”
For adults suffering physical abuse from a loved one or coworker, the students say, Adult Protective Services is there to help. There are a number of free services available to anyone who has experienced interpersonal violence, or need to report it.
“Our hope is basically to have people walking away knowing about a lot of the different organizations in Anchorage,” said Meghan Kim, one of the UAA senior nursing students. “[There are] a lot of resources, and also feeling competent and confident that we can make a difference in this problem.”
While the violence in Alaska may not end today, the UAA nursing students will continue to promote awareness and show everyone in the community how they can come together to prevent interpersonal violence.