College students affected by domestic violence

By Brian Loschiavo
October 15, 2009

Imagine someone you care a lot about is being abused in some way by another person. What would you do? Would you step in and stop it from going on? Would you contact someone for help? How would you feel if the rest of that person’s life was affected because something was not done about it?

When thinking about domestic violence most people think of a married couple in turmoil. Rarely do we think about college students, or our good friends, being in situations where domestic violence is an issue. This assumption is very far from the truth. Recent statistics show that domestic violence on college campuses is present in the form of dating violence.

Nearly one in three college students report being physically assaulted by a dating partner within a year.

October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to educate ourselves and others on what it is and what we have to do to help victims be heard.

Domestic violence is defined as deliberate, forceful and controlling behavior that coerces a person to do what the abuser wants without regard for their wishes or their health.

It doesn’t matter what the race, religion or sexual orientation of the person is. Domestic violence or dating violence can happen to anyone. In most situations the abuser is a man and the victim is usually a woman but this is not always the case.

This violence is commonly looked at as violence between two adults who are intimate partners in a current relationship, or have been intimate partners in a previous relationship.

College aged women experience high rates of domestic violence across the country. Almost a quarter of college students report that they have experienced dating violence by a current partner and even more report violence with a previous partner.

Victims of domestic violence on college campuses can be abused in many different ways. Domestic violence encompasses physical, sexual, psychological, economic and emotional violence. This also includes stalking.

The big problem with this issue is that many male and female college students are afraid to come forward if they are the victim of some type of dating violence. In some cases they are nervous that the perpetrator will retaliate or that they will be embarrassed.

As college campuses we need to be more comforting and welcoming to those that want to get help. The fact that dating violence is prevalent on college campuses is something that administrators and students need to be more aware of and educated about.

Another problem with domestic violence on college campuses is that many states do not allow individuals to file for domestic violence if they are not married or have a child with the perpetrator. ?

The likelihood of this occurring in college is very low. We must work together to make sure that everyone is legally protected from this violence.

When it comes down to it violence in a dating situation is something that could be going on right here at Cabrini College as hard as it may seem to believe. It needs to be brought to everyone’s attention that you must speak out if you know a friend or a loved one who is in an abusive relationship, whatever type of abuse it may be, because they will most likely deny the violence or be afraid to get help themselves. Contact Cabrini Counseling Services if you or a friend needs help. And remember, love isn’t supposed to hurt.

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Brian Loschiavo

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