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Student death makes domestic violence resources a priority on a Connecticut college campus

LtoR Corrinna Martin, mother of Alyssiah Wiley, next to photo of her daughter and Professor Brenda Westberry, organizer of the end relationship violence event at Eastern University.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
Corrinna Martin (left), mother of Alyssiah Wiley, next to photo of her daughter and Professor Brenda Westberry, organizer of the end relationship violence event at Eastern University

Alyssiah Wiley was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2013 when she was a student at Eastern Connecticut State University. She is being remembered by the campus during Domestic Violence Awareness month this October.

Corrina Martin, Alyssiah’s mother, founded Mothers of Victims Equality — a West Haven-based nonprofit that she started to help support families disproportionately vulnerable to violence.

“Coming to the realization of knowing that in the Black and Brown community, we are grossly misrepresented,” Martin said. “We’re not afforded the equality that we should for services that are given to others and so we wanted to do something about that, not just do something about it but bring awareness to it.”

Students at Eastern Connecticut State University picking up resources about domestic violence issues and how to deal with them..jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
Students at Eastern Connecticut State University picking up resources about domestic violence issues and how to deal with them

She joined the annual event, held in her daughter’s name, to help bring awareness to students about intimate partner or dating violence.

“One of the things I wanted to do is I wanted to bring both men and women on college campuses together to have a very important discussion about what we can do to eradicate intimate partner violence, not only on our college campus but also within the communities that our students are from,” said Brenda Westberry, a professor of sociology at Eastern who organized the event.

Female students between the ages of 18 and 24 experienced higher rates of physical and sexual violence than male students, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One-in-twelve female students experience dating violence while at school.

A federal survey also found that LGBTQ students experienced higher degrees of sexual violence than students who identified as heterosexual.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.