WHM: Yaoi Kusama

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Carolina Women’s Center is featuring blog posts by UNC student Lydia McInnes. Lydia’s writing celebrates some notable women throughout history. In remembering their actions, we honor their memory and their contributions to all women.

Yao Kusama

Born: Matsumoto City, Nagano, Japan in 1929

Occupation: Painter, Artist

Notable Quote: “I am an obsessional artist. People may call me otherwise, but … I consider myself a heretic of the art world.”

Why you should know about her:

The product of an arranged marriage, Kusama was born into a wealthy but dysfunctional Japanese family, emotionally and physically abused by her mother and sent to her spy on her father’s extramarital affairs. Her mother often made her report back on her father’s sexual exploits, which led to a lasting trauma of both sexual obsession and aversion that often appeared in her later artwork as a focus on the phallus and the female body.

She started painting at age 10 after she began to experience intense audio-visual hallucinations, using those hallucinations to create dizzying painting and patterns of endless dots, lines, and spirals. In an interview with The Washington Post, she described her repetitive patterned works as attempts to “obliterate” her thoughts, with art becoming a form of therapy, or “art-medicine” for her as she came to terms with the neurosis that only eased when she painted.

She studied traditional Japanese painting in Kyoto in 1948, but she eventually grew frustrated with the strictly regulated, traditional Japanese style of Nihonga – a style of Japanese art similar to Western oil painting but with traditional Japanese materials – and left for New York in 1957. There, she found herself in the midst of the post-war New York avant-garde art scene, but she diverged from the popular style of the time – a style popularized by Jackson Pollock called action painting that involves abstract brushwork and vigorous paint spatters to imitate motion – to do her own large-scale monochromatic pieces. She later expanded to drawings, sculptures, installations, fashion design, and even film. She founded Kusama Enterprises in 1969 to sell clothing, bags, and cars printed with her dizzying designs.

While her art exists in a category of its own, she uses a style that combines several different approaches, including feminist art, abstract expressionism, and minimalism. Her work is often considered a precursor to the Pop Art movement of the 1950s and ‘60s. This style, popularized by Andy Warhol and others, focuses on individual subject matter with heavy iconographic use. Kusama has even been cited as influence on Warhol and other famous artists of the Pop Art movement.

In many ways, her art defies the classification with any and all modern art movements, but it is still revered and enjoyed by many for its intense and, at times, palpably bizarre style. Kusama moved back to Japan in 1973 and entered Seiwa Hospital in 1975 for treatment of her obsessive-compulsive neurosis, but she continued to produce artwork in her unique creative style, even adding poetry and fiction to her creative canon in the 1980s. Her most recent exhibition was on display February 2017 in the Hirshorn Musuem and Sculpture Park in Washington D.C.

In many ways, Kusama’s mental illness has also been her artistic strength as she has built her entire artistic style on the dizzying “Dot Obsessions” paintings inspired by her hallucinations.  She also used her artwork as a platform to challenge traditional notions of a conservative female-effacing Japanese culture at a time when most women, Kusama included, were expected to become dutiful housewives rather than creative beings in their own right. Despite not qualifying in any single “popular” modern art movement, art historians, critics, and fans should remember the legacy of the person behind such dizzying designs and how her struggles with mental illness have also given her great strength.

WHM: Josephine Baker

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Carolina Women’s Center is featuring blog posts by UNC student Lydia McInnes. Lydia’s writing celebrates some notable women throughout history. In remembering their actions, we honor their memory and their contributions to all women.

Josephine Baker

Photo Source:

Born: St. Louis, Missouri on June 3, 1906 (birth name: Freda Josephine McDonald)

Died: Paris, France on April 12, 1975

Occupation: Singer, Dancer, Civil Rights Activist

Notable Quote: “Surely the day will come when color means nothing more than the skin tone, when religion is seen uniquely as a way to speak one’s soul, when birth places have the weight of a throw of the dice and all men are born free, when understanding breeds love and brotherhood.”

Why you should know about her:

Josephine Baker spent her early life in poverty, working as a nanny and caretaker for wealthy white families in St. Louis, before going on to become one of Europe’s most popular and highest paid performers. She started dancing at 13 and began touring the US in 1919 before moving to France to pursue her career away from the racist jeers and disdain of white Americans.

She catapulted herself to fame in 1926 by dancing in a skirt made out of 16 bananas – and little else – before moving on to sing and dance in French stage performances and films. Baker, like many other black performers of the age, was welcomed in Paris due to her “exotic” nature and appearance – she was dubbed the “Black Venus” and the “Black Pearl” by audiences – leaving her to walk the fine line between representation and exploitation.

This fantasized (and fetishized) version of blackness that French audiences wanted may have given her fame, but it wasn’t the only way she left her mark France. Baker also worked for the Red Cross and the French Resistance during the WWII Nazi occupation of France, and she was a sub-lieutenant in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. After the war, she was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor, two of France’s highest military honors for her service during the war.

She returned to the US during the 1950s and ‘60s to participate in the boycotts, protests, and marches of the Civil Rights movement. She marched on Washington alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., on the day of his “I Have a Dream” speech and helped the cause so much that the NAACP named May 20th Josephine Baker day in her honor. She performed at a packed Carnegie Hall crowd in New York in 1973 after decades of racist rejection and then returned to her home in the French countryside with her 12 adopted children from countries around the world.

She died at age 68 in 1975, just after the 50th anniversary of her Paris debut. Over 20,000 Parisians lined the streets to view her funeral procession. She was honored with a 21-gun salute by the French government, making her the first American woman in history to be buried in France with military honors. More than just a pretty face and a good voice, Josephine Baker was a true Freedom Fighter, a champion of civil rights, and a woman whose name should not be forgotten.

Call for Nominations: 2018 University Awards for the Advancement of Women

Deadline: Friday, January 26 at 5pm

On behalf of the Offices of the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, the Carolina Women’s Center is pleased to call for nominations for the 2018 University Awards for the Advancement of Women. These awards recognize contributions by people of all genders to the advancement of women at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Each year, the award recognizes a faculty member, a staff member, a graduate or professional student or postdoctoral fellow, and an undergraduate. The faculty and staff recipients each receive $5000. Each student recipient receives $2500. Awardees are honored in a ceremony during the Carolina Women’s Center’s annual Gender Week Celebration in the spring. Please see the UAAW webpage for requirements and to submit a nomination.

Contact with questions.

Women’s Center’s 20th Anniversary Events

Click on event headings for more details and to register.

Past, Present, and Future: Women’s Organizations on Campuses and in Communities

Inaugural session of CWC’s Carolina Seminar Series
Live conversation with WUNC’s The State of Things host, Frank Stasio
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
5:30: Reception
6:30: Panel Discussion
Friday Center

20th Anniversary Gala

Spring semester (exact date TBD)
Hill Hall Rotunda

WHM: Grace Hopper

For Women’s History Month, we’ll be sharing weekly blog posts from Lily Lou, one of our student interns. She will be highlighting a notable and inspiring woman in each post.

Grace Hopper

220px-Grace_HopperBorn: December 9, 1906, in New York City, New York

Occupation(s): Mathematician, Computer Scientist, United States Navy Rear Admiral

Awesome Quote: “Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.”

Why should you know about her? Grace Hopper was one of the first computer programmers. In 1934 she became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University, and she also served in the US Navy during World War II as a lieutenant, where she worked on the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard University building new computer technologies for the Navy. As a programmer, she developed the first compiler for a computer programming language, which is the basis of all modern day computer programming languages. She was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1991. In 2016 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. Though she died in 1992, there is an annual computer science conference for women in her honor, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

Brief Biography: Grace Hopper was born in New York City in 1906. She graduated with honors from Vassar College in 1928 with a degree in mathematics and physics and earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in math at Yale University in 1930 and 1934, respectively. She taught math at Vassar from 1931 to 1943.

After teaching math, she joined the navy, where her grandfather served. Initially, she was rejected because her weight was too low and she was too old, but she eventually became a lieutenant and worked on programming the Mark I computer during World War II, which was one of the first computers used by the Navy. After the war ended, she continued working for the Navy, programming the Mark II and III computers.

In 1949, she began working for Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, which was later bought by Remington Rand, a private computer company where she oversaw programming for the UNIVAC computer, which was the first commercial computer made in the United States. In 1952, she helped create the first compiler for computer languages, which translated the computer’s binary instructions to a computer coding language.

When she was 60, she returned to the Navy to work on computer languages. She continued working for the Navy until she was 79, when she was a rear admiral and the oldest serving officer in the Navy. Immediately after her retirement from the Navy, she continued computing, working for the Digital Equipment Corporation. She became the first woman to receive the National Medal of Technology in 1991. She continued working until she died in Arlington, Virginia, on January 1, 1992, at age 85.

There is currently a conference named in honor of Hopper that encourages women to pursue computer science and engineering. It is the largest conference for women in STEM, bringing together over 18,000 attendees. In February, Yale renamed Calhoun College to Grace Murray Hopper.

WHM: Malala Yousafzai

For Women’s History Month, we’ll be sharing weekly blog posts from Lily Lou, one of our student interns. She will be highlighting a notable and inspiring woman in each post.

Malala Yousafzai


Born: July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan

Occupation(s): Activist, Student, Writer

Awesome Quote: “The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.”
Why should you know about her? Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for fighting for the right for children, specifically girls, to get an education. She is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize. As a 9 year old, she blogged for the BBC under a pseudonym about her experience living in the Taliban-controlled Swat district of northwestern Pakistan. The Taliban opposes education for girls and women, but Malala stood up for her rights and continued going to school despite death threats. She survived an assassination attempt in 2012, and today she still continues to fight for the right to education.

Brief Biography: Malala was born in Pakistan with two younger brothers. Her father, who owned the school that she attended, was active in supporting education rights for women. When Malala was 10, the Taliban took over the Swat Valley and banned girls from going to school. She resisted by giving a speech on television in 2008 titled “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” In 2009, she also began blogging for the BBC Urdu to show the world how the Taliban was influencing life in the Swat Valley. She wrote about women’s education, but because blogging about the Taliban was so dangerous, she had to use an alias. In 2011, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize and won Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.

Because of her activism, she received death threats from the Taliban. When she was 15, a masked gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and was later transported to a hospital in Birmingham, England, where she currently lives and attends school. Nearly six months later, she recovered from her injuries and spoke at the United Nations for universal access to education and published an autobiography, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.”

In 2013, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. She continues to speak out on the importance of educating girls. In 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize with Kailash Satyarthi, an activist against child labor.

She also co-founded the Malala Fund with her father to advocate for girls’ education. As part of the Fund, she traveled to Nigeria to raise awareness about girls that Boko Haram, a terrorist group, kidnapped to prevent going to school.

On her 18th birthday, she opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon as part of the Malala Fund. She continues to fight for girls’ right to education today.

WHM: Angela Davis

For Women’s History Month, we’ll be sharing weekly blog posts from Lily Lou, one of our student interns. She will be highlighting a notable and inspiring woman in each post.


Angela Davis


Born: January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama

Occupation(s): Activist, Educator, Scholar, and Writer

Awesome Quote: “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”

Why should you know about her? Angela Davis is best known for being an activist who focuses on prison abolition, gender equity, and civil rights. Her first book, Women, Race, and Class, was one of the first to focus on intersectional feminism and she is especially known for her activism in the 1970s. She ran for US vice president on the Communist Party ticket in 1980 and 1984, encouraging more African Americans to join the Party. Her activism started as a graduate student: she was politically active in groups including the Black Panthers and the Che-Lumumba Club, an all-black branch of the Communist Party. She also co-founded Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison-industrial complex, especially addressing the disproportionately high number of minorities in prisons. In 1969, she taught at the University of California, Los Angeles despite facing controversy from the University’s administration because of her involvement in the Communist Party. She later taught courses on the history of consciousness and chaired the feminist studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz before retiring in 2008. She has written five books including Angela Davis: An Autobiography, Women, Race, and Class and Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday.

Brief Biography: Angela Davis grew up in Birmingham, Alabama with two brothers and a sister. Her mother was a part of the NAACP and worked as an elementary school teacher. Her father owned a service station. Davis attended a segregated black elementary school and middle school. In high school, Davis set up interracial study groups, which were frequently broken up by police. As a high school junior, Davis moved to New York as part of a program that placed black students from segregated schools in the South in progressive, schools in the North.

In 1961, she went to Brandeis University, where she graduated with honors (magna cum laude) and earned a B.A. in French literature. In 1963, she was studying abroad in France, when she found out about the Ku Klux Klan bombing a Birmingham church, killing four girls she knew. This attack inspired her to return to the U.S. and become more politically active in fighting for civil rights. After graduating, Davis joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and later the Black Panther Party.

After studying philosophy for two years at the University of Frankfurt in Germany, she went to University of California at San Diego in 1968 to pursue a master’s degree. She later earned her Ph.D. from Humboldt University in Berlin.

From 1969 to 1970, Davis was an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California at Los Angeles, but because she was part of the Communist Party, many administrators opposed her teaching.

In the 1970s she began pushing for changes in the prison system. Davis was arrested in 1970 after a prison abolitionist, Jonathan Jackson, tried to free prisoners on trial using guns registered in her name. In a court room, four people, including one judge, were killed during the incident, but Davis was acquitted on all charges. The incident, however, led to more opposition against her teaching in California colleges. However, in 1977, Davis became a lecturer in women’s and ethnic studies at San Francisco State University in 1977.

She also ran as vice president for the Communist Party in the U.S. elections of 1980 and 1984. As the candidate, she wanted to make the Communist Party more accessible to the African American community. In 1984, she began teaching the History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz and Women’s and Gender Studies at Syracuse University, eventually becoming the chair of the feminist studies department. She retired in 2008, but continues to advise students and occasionally teaches classes at UC Santa Cruz.

Call for Nominations: University Awards for the Advancement of Women

Call for Nominations
2017 University Awards for the Advancement of Women

On behalf of the Offices of the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, the Carolina Women’s Center is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2017 University Awards for the Advancement of Women.  This award recognizes contributions by people of all genders to the advancement of women at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Each year, four individuals–one faculty member, one staff member, and two students–are selected to receive the award. The faculty and staff recipients each receive $5000. In 2016, the award for a student split into two awards: one for an undergraduate student, and one for a graduate or professional student or postdoctoral scholar. Each student recipient receives $2500. Awardees are honored in a ceremony during the Carolina Women’s Center’s annual Gender Week Celebration in the spring.

Please submit nominations for individuals who have contributed in one or more of the following ways:

•    Elevated the status of women on campus in sustainable ways;
•    Helped to improve campus policies affecting women;
•    Promoted and advanced the recruitment, retention, and upward mobility of women;
•    Participated in and assisted in the establishment of professional development opportunities for women; and/or
•    Participated in and assisted in the establishment of academic mentoring for women.

In no more than 750 words, please address directly how the nominee meets one or more of the award’s criteria, using specific examples to support the nomination. Nominations may also include letters of support from other individuals or groups

**There are a number of other awards for which nominees might also be eligible and/or better candidates. Please see the list of awards and links on the Carolina Women’s Center’s Awards Page.

**To submit a nomination, please use the online form at:

A maximum of two additional supporting letters (suggested limit 250 words) are permitted but not required. These letters may be submitted via fax (919-843-5619), campus mail (Carolina Women’s Center, CB# 3302), or emailed pdf ( Please be sure to indicate in the cover sheet or subject line whose nomination the letter supports.

All faculty and staff nominees must be permanent, current employees.   No self-nominations or posthumous nominations will be accepted.  Carolina Women’s Center administrators and staff are not eligible for nomination.

The deadline for nominations is Monday, January 30, at 5:00 p.m. Please note that this is a shorter nomination window than usual.

Previous award winners are

(2016) Sheila Kannappan, Jackie Overton, Mary Shen, Leslie Gabriela Morales
(2015) Carmen Samuel-Hodge, Terri Phoenix, Maegan Clawges
(2014) Karen Booth, Donna Bickford, Audrey Rose Verde
(2013) Jenny Ting, Kelli Raker, Camille McGirt
(2012) Sherryl Kleinman, Bev Pearson, Allison Grady
(2011) Lillie Searles, Bob Pleasants, Caroline Fish
(2010) Laurie McNeil, Melinda Manning, Parastoo Hashemi
(2009) Etta Pisano, Aimee Krans, Annie Clark
(2008) Kay Lund, Cookie Newsom, Emily Joy Rothchild
(2007) Barbara Harris, Annette Madden, Emily Dunn,
(2006) Jan Boxill, Terri Houston, Matt Ezzell

Put on Your Air Mask First

As the semester is coming to an end and finals are around the corner, it’s important to focus on self-care as a parent and a student.  The end of the semester is when stress is at an all-time high, and self-care tends to take a backseat.  During stressful times, we ignore our needs and limits, but it is during these times that we need to practice self-care the most.  Self-care is the intentional action you take caring for your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.  Self-care can be challenging: it’s a last priority and usually comes after meeting everyone else’s needs.  The following exercise will help you find strategies for taking care of yourself and identifying stressors that drain your energy for parenting and school.

On a piece of paper, brainstorm and write down the characteristics of each of the following:

  • Good parent
  • Good student
  • Healthy person (an individual who is in a state of good physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being)

In your lists of characteristics, do you see any traits listed under multiple identities?  Do your lists overlap?  Looking at your lists, can anyone be all of these things, all of the time?

The short answer is no.  Trying to achieve all the characteristics of these multiple identities (which may or may not conflict with each other) adds to the stress that you are experiencing.  You may end up not getting enough sleep, skipping meals, and ignoring your needs as you try to be a good student and a good parent while being a healthy person.  One of the ways to practice self-care is to figure out how you cope with stress.

The majority of people can recognize major stressors (changing jobs, moving, and losing a loved one), but sometimes you may ignore daily stressors when you are focused on other things such as paper deadlines, tests, and children’s extracurricular activities.  To examine your sources of stress (i.e., habits, attitudes, events, kids), here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself:

  • How do you feel physically and emotionally when you are stressed?
  • How do you respond to it?
  • Do you explain stress as temporary? (“I have a lot of things going on right now,” even though you may not remember the number of hours you slept or the last time you ate)
  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your life? (“My life is always chaotic”) or an attribute of your personality? (“I’m always nervous”)

Now, make another list of characteristics.

  • Good enough parent
  • Good enough student

How do these differ from your original lists? Are they completely different, or do they have commonalities?

The purpose of this exercise is to understand that being good enough is alright: you are doing your best given the circumstances.  For instance, good enough can be equivalent to 85%.  It may not be the 100% you wanted, but you did well enough to pass.  Both student and parent roles are full-time and demanding.  These roles won’t always be compatible, and they can cause you to engage in unhealthy coping skills.  Unhealthy coping skills may temporarily reduce stress, but they can cause more damage in the long run. Examples include

  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating a lot of junk food
  • Zoning out in front of the television or laptop
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.

To combat unhealthy coping skills, write down one or more commitments you would like to make to practice self-care.  These commitments can start off as activities, behavioral changes, and/or cognitive changes that you would like to practice during finals.  Some examples of practicing self-care include:

  • Exercise for 30 minutes: You can burn away anger, tension, and frustration. It can reduce and prevent the effects of stress.
  • Put on some music and dance around.
  • Take an exercise class (Ram’s Head/SRC have great hour long group exercise classes such as aerobics and Zumba).
  • Have a study break with a friend or classmate.
  • Ask someone to check in with you regularly to boost your confidence as you are studying for finals.
  • Say “no”: know your limits and stick to them. It is important to distinguish the “shoulds” and “musts” in your life. (For instance, you may feel like your infant should be in the upper percentile, but your infant must be healthy.) Designate a “no” person if necessary.
  • Tell yourself that you are good enough when balancing parental and student responsibilities.

Self-care is individualized and personal, but we all need it.  It is important for us to keep self-care in mind, especially as the end of the semester is a time for possible burnout and hospitalization.  Self-care allows you to be the best version of yourself to be effective as a parent and a student.  Aaron Karmin, a licensed clinician, describes self-care with a great metaphor:

“A selfless person put others’ masks on, while they choke.  A selfish person puts their mask on and leaves everyone else to choke.  A person practicing self-preservation puts their mask on first and help those around them.”

Families in Unhealthy and Abusive Relationships

**Warning: This post discusses interpersonal violence (domestic, relationship, or family violence). The clip illustrating accusations is graphic. Please take care of yourself as you read this post. This link goes directly to the resources on- and off- campus.**

Last week, I discussed challenges and disagreements that are part of healthy relationships.  However, some responses to the challenges of parenting can go beyond the realm of healthy and unhealthy into the realm of abuse.  Relationships exist on a continuum from healthy to abusive with unhealthy relationships in the middle.

In an unhealthy relationship, one partner attempts to control the other person. For instance, one person tries to make most of the decisions about what y’all will do and where y’all will go.  Or, your partner may pressure you about sex and refuse to see how their actions are hurting you.  These relationships can include breaks in communication, pressure, dishonesty, and struggle for control.  Additionally, your partner might make you feel bad about yourself or like you should only spend time with them.  There are many other characteristics of an unhealthy relationship, including

  • Putting your partner’s needs first while neglecting your own most of the time
  • Feeling pressure to change yourself into the person your partner wants
  • Not enjoying and/or belittle your respective successes
  • Attempting to control and manipulate each other
  • Unequal control of resources

Some relationships may exhibit one or two unhealthy characteristics, but that does not necessarily mean that the relationship is abusive.  The best way to use this information is to recognize how these characteristics affect you and impact your relationship.  Partners can improve unhealthy aspects of their relationship to move towards a healthy one. Last week’s post gives some tips on how to redirect your relationship to a healthy one.

Abusive relationships are based on unequal power and control. Interpersonal violence (IPV) is when an individual exerts power and control over another individual or individuals with whom they are in a close relationship through physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, financial, and psychological actions or threats.  That person makes all of the decisions about topics such as sexual activity, friend groups, and boundaries.  If you are in an abusive relationship, you may spend all of your time with your partner and feel like you cannot talk to other people, especially about how you feel in your relationship.  Abusive relationships can be characterized by accusations, isolation, gas lighting, and manipulation of one person by the other.  There are other ways in which abuse can exhibit itself.

Families are affected by abusive relationships, including children who witness and/or experience the abuse and violence.  Being a parent in an abusive relationship makes a difficult situation that much harder.  You may not only worry about your own safety, but you also worry for the safety and well-being of your children.  Often times, the abuser may use your children against you— not letting you see your children, abusing (or threatening to abuse) your child, and/or using your child to check up on you, for example.  The best thing to do in this difficult situation is to talk to your children and let them know that the abuser’s behavior is wrong.  Children can have long-lasting mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety, or they may grow up thinking IPV is normal and may attempt to mimic the behavior of the abusive relationship.

It is important to remember that abuse is never your fault.  The abuse falls on the abuser, and they are responsible for their behavior.  It is up to them to change their abusive behavior.  Even though you may love and want to help fix the behavior or fix the person, you don’t deserve to be abused or to carry the psychological burden of fixing someone.

Attempting to leave the abuser is hard, especially with children involved.  If you are ready to leave or not, here are some steps that you can take to ensure safety for you and your children:

  • Prepare a safety plan with your children: Arrange a safe place for your children (such as hiding in a closet or going to a neighbor’s house), and plan a code word so they know when to leave and where to get help.
  • Have a conversation with your children to let them know that it’s not their fault
  • Pack an emergency bag, including things like important documentation, formula, diapers, medicine. Keep the bag hidden or with someone you trust.

If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV, there are a lots of options for help. UNC has on- and off-campus resources for you.

  • Gender Violence Service Coordinator (GVSC): The coordinator is a confidential resource to all students who are experiencing or have experienced IPV either before or during their time at UNC. The GVSC has drop in hours, in addition to meeting by appointment. You can find more information here.
  • Safe at UNC: This is the university’s website dedicated to information and resources related to IPV, including interim protective measures like safe housing.
  • UNC LGBTQ Center: This organization provides great information and resources to the LGBTQ-identified students on campus. The GVSC has drop-in hours on Thursdays 3 – 5 pm in the center. Additionally, they offer online relationship modules that range from differentiating between healthy and unhealthy relationships and IPV.
  • Orange County Rape Crisis Center (OCRCC): They have a free and confidential hotline and resources for survivors of sexual violence. You can call them at 1-866-WE-LISTEN or visit them at
  • Compass Center for Women and Families: This organization offers a confidential hotline for survivors of domestic violence and families. The number is 919-929-7122.  They can also provide resources and information:
    • Crisis counseling (in office and in hotline)
    • Safety planning
    • Support and advocacy in civil and criminal domestic violence court
    • Support groups with free childcare
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is another confidential and free hotline. The number is 1-800-799-7233