Spotlight: Break the Silence Club

By Claire Baumann  

A little less than two years ago, a student came to the office of Teresa Aprigliano, Associate Dean and Director of the Division of Nursing, seeking help as her personal life was being affected by relationship violence. After discussing the situation with the student and assessing their needs, Dr. Aprigliano reached out to John Amodeo, Assistant Director of Public Safety for assistance in the matter. Not only were the two successful in getting the student the help they needed; they realized they needed to do more to educate and prepare the Molloy Community to manage situations such as this one they had encountered.

They went on to create The Partner Project in the Spring Semester of 2012. The goal of the project is to work to end the silence associated with relationship violence through education, training, and responsible action. Mr. Amodeo has a vision of "Safe at School" which seeks to enhance the quality of life for students while increasing their knowledge. Dr. Aprigliano and Mr. Amodeo have created a new club on the Molloy campus known as the Break the Silence club. Its goal is to educate the Molloy community about relationship violence and teach about what to do in situations whether you are a bystander or a victim. Dr. Aprigliano and Mr. Amodeo are truly inspiring as their main priority is to help the students of Molloy and create awareness so the community can be prepared in the present and future.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, partner violence among 16 to 24-year old women happens at nearly three times the national average.

According to, "there are several unhealthy relationship warning signs, whether it be a friend or dating relationship." These include but are not limited to: insults, extreme jealousy, pressure, wrongful blame, sudden mood changes and physical harm. Even though the statistics are shocking, there are many inspirational people who have begun to break the silence. One example of this is former Temple University student, Emily Frazer. Two days after breaking up with her boyfriend --a top athlete on the college's football team-- he followed Frazer into her dorm room in rage and intoxicated with both fists up threating to kill her.

Thankfully Emily was untouched as another football player heard her scream and stopped his team member. University police were then called to the scene. Frazer still had to live in fear as he continued to walk the campus, as he was only suspended from the school a month later.

Recently, President Obama and Vice President Biden have created a campaign entitled "It's On Us," that focuses on campus sexual assault awareness. The campaign particularly targets male students in the fight to bring light on an issue that is all too often hidden by colleges and universities. The U.S. Department of Education has for the first time publicly exposed the names of colleges and universities that are under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assault complaints.

Whether you tell a friend the truth that you think they are in an unhealthy relationship or learn ways to be a positive bystander. It doesn't matter how big or small the situation may seem, the only question that matters to Molloy students and faculty is, are you willing to break the silence?