Keystone hosts Women’s Resource Center

Keystone College freshmen, and Tunkhannock Area High School graduates, Samantha Veety, left, and Mariah Stevens take a solemn moment to look at the place settings of the victims of domestic violence from Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties as a part of “An Empty Place at the Table,” sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center. STAFF PHOTO/PATRICK LEONARD

BY PATRICK LEONARD

Keystone College welcomed the Women’s Resource Center of Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties to the campus on Tuesday for its presentation, “An Empty Place at the Table.”

The presentation is a part of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Women’s Center set up a dinner table with a place setting for each of the 26 victims of domestic violence that have been killed in Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties since 1993.

The exhibit ran from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and was open to the public as well as all Keystone students.

Most of the place settings were donated by the families of the victims and included personal items of the victims themselves, such as a favorite plate or cup.

“What our agency does is provide advocacy and counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse,” Women’s center Counselor Advocate Amy Clark said. “We go out into the community and help people to recognize when violence is occurring. We only do our ‘Table’ exhibit in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month but we provide help year round.”

There was also a documentary on domestic violence narrated by actress Susan Sarandon running throughout the exhibit, which seemed to add to the solemn feeling in the room.

“This is a huge eye-opener for some of our students,” noted Keystone College counselor Tanya Morgan. “They realize people who are suffering abuse need to get help or there could be grave consequences. The tragedy is that some of our students have experience with violence, either at home or in a relationship. They need to understand that they have options.”

This was the second year that the Women’s Center gave its presentation at Keystone. The center is holding the same exhibit on Wednesday, October 10 at the IHM Chapel at Marywood University from 5 to 6 p.m. At 6:30 there will be a prayer service for the families of the victims.

Also, on Tuesday, October 30 the agency will have its exhibit on display at the University of Scranton from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“This presentation is very personal as well as communal,” said Keystone’s Senior Director of College Relations Fran Calpin. “It is a dinner setting, which everyone can relate to. It provides a hushed atmosphere and all of the people coming through have been very reverent.”