Left to right: Beatriz Preece, Maya Younis, Alexander Steward at Friday's BlackFinn event.

Did you know that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime? Did you know that most of these victims are attacked or abused by someone they know and trust? How about that the fact that the majority of sexual and domestic assaults go unreported?

Last week’s student-driven “UM-D for Vista Maria” campaign shared these grave facts and more through a week of awareness-raising and fundraising for the local non-profit and domestic violence in general.

UM-D Abuse and Assault Awareness week was the culmination of a semester-long project by Susan Sheth’s PR Campaigns class. The students put on a flash mob, a domestic violence expo, special programming on WUMD, and a fundraising event at BlackFinn Restaurant and Saloon in Royal Oak.

According to Meghan Sears, the team captain for Friday’s event, the BlackFinn fundraiser attracted 60 people raised more than $800 for Vista Maria. “The night was a success and we are thrilled to have raised so much money!” Sears said.

The awareness week coincides with National Sexual Assault Awareness month, which runs through April. The goal of the month is to “raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence,” according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Wednesday's Domestic Violence expo (Photo: Beatriz Preece)

Sexual violence ranges from unwanted touching to forcible rape. Women ages 16 to 24 are the most likely to experience it, though people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and genders have been or could be victims. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, it is one of the most “chronically underreported crimes” due to it being a taboo, unpleasant subject for many.

If you want to get involved with the fight against domestic violence and sexual assault, check out organizations like Vista Maria, First Step, Safe House, and HAVEN or events like the Sexual Assault Prevention Workshop in the Fieldhouse on Tuesday, April 10.