Students get polished to raise awareness

Robby Barlow

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 Last week, around 50 males, both student and faculty, at Western Illinois University had one of their fingernails painted with nail polish as a part of the Polished Man Campaign according to the Student Development Office, which sponsored the campaign through its interpersonal violence awareness and prevention program.

 The Polished Man campaign is an international initiative that challenges men to paint one nail to raise awareness surrounding violence against children. The statistic that one in five children will be affected is represented by having one out of five nails painted.

 For the campaign, the Student Development Office set up a station in the University Union concourse from Tuesday through Thursday where their staff painted nails for males wanting to participate in the campaign along with taking their picture to share their freshly painted nail on social media.

 Student Development Office Director Tracy Scott noted that a painted fingernail sparks attention and starts a conversation on a very touchy subject.

“After painting my fingernail, I have been amazed how many people have asked me about it, which starts the conversation,” Scott said. “Not only have people across campus asked me, but I’ve been asked about it at the post office, restaurants and even at the veterinary clinic.”

 Women were able to join in on the campaign by stating “I prefer a polished man” on social media.

The Polished Man campaign came to Western as a way for students to become more aware of the presence of abuse among students, according to Scott.

“I came across the Polished Man on social media and thought why not bring this to campus,” Scott said. “I really liked the idea of bringing a more engaging way to promote conversation about interpersonal violence.”

Brooke Bloom, a student worker for the Student Development Office, said it was important to bring the campaign to Western because:

“One out of every five children under the age of 18 has experienced some form of physical and/or sexual abuse. That’s 20 percent of households with a child who has suffered,” Bloom said. “This campaign was brought about mainly for the fact that the one out of five who have suffered grow up as well.”

According to Bloom, it is important that abuse awareness be spread because the people who are abused as children eventually grow up and want to work to see the issue be put to an end.

“They grow into teenagers, and they grow into college students,” Bloom said. “It’s important to educate early and educate often in order to put an end to all physical and
sexual violence.”

She also said that her experience with other individuals has moved her to take action.

“(I have) come in direct contact with multiple individuals who have suffered a similar reality,” Bloom said. “I think that that’s why I was so excited to devote my time to the cause. It matters. It’s prevalent, not only in the lives of children, but in students who were previously victims of physical and/or sexual abuse.”

Scott said that he is very pleased with how successful Polished Man was and hopes it will become a tradition at Western from now on.

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