Nearly half, approximately 43% of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors. The month of October is filled with many important social issues such as Mental Illness Awareness week and Breast Cancer Awareness month. Another important cause highlighted in October is Domestic violence awareness month.
What is Domestic Violence Awareness Month?
Domestic Violence Awareness month is an evolution of “Day of Unity” which was celebrated in October 1981. The purpose of declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness month was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.
In order to get a clearer picture, we must clearly define what domestic violence entails. Domestic violence can be defined as the “willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.”
Why it’s particularly important for Young Adults
Approximately 1 in 6 or 16% of college women report being sexually abused in a dating relationship. Women between the ages of 18-24 (typically college aged) are most commonly abused by an intimate partner. In addition, 13% of college women report they have been stalked by either a current or former partner. The statistic numbers are thought to be mixed because there are often many cases that do go unreported and never come to light.
Signs to look out for
Some red flags and warning signs of an abuser include but are not limited to:
*A bad temper
*Extremely controlling behavior
*Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships
*Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex
*Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens
*Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
*Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
*Control of what the victim wears and how they act
*Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
*Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others.
Ways to help
Unbeknownst to many college students, sexual harassment is broadly covered through Title IX. Although there is a slippery slope that’s occurred with the current Trump administration there was the understanding that Title IX covered sexual assaults and violence and ensured safety for student victims.
If you’re being abused and in immediate danger, always call 911.
Other resources include anonymous, confidential help lines can also be helpful.
- the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or
- 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
- 1-800-656-4673 (HOPE)
- https://www.ncadv.org/tips-for-accessing-resources (gives you tips about different ways of approaching different resources)
- http://www.loveisrespect.org/ (resources about accessing help for yourself, others, different institutions, etc)
- Counseling services
- Campus police
- Women’s resource centers
- Justice studies centers
It is important to note that victims of domestic abuse must go through the process of leaving, at their own pace. Never force or push the situation, never judge a victim for not leaving or going back to the abuser, and always listen with an open mind. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers an insightful and helpful safety planning guide when in contact with a victim of domestic violence.
“Stand up for yourself and your rights as a human being. You are strong. You are beautiful. And there is more to life than walking on eggshells.” – Courtesy of http://www.seethetriumph.org/
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