October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Organizations across the country dedicate this month to spreading awareness about domestic violence. Students need to be reminded of what domestic violence can include and where they can go for help on campus.
Many people think that if it isn’t rape, it isn’t a crime. That just isn’t true. Domestic violence can include verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and financial abuse, as well as isolation. This includes any kissing or touching that isn’t wanted and any form of stalking.
When people think of domestic violence, they often think only of abuse in relationships between a man and a woman who are married or dating. Though many cases of domestic violence do occur in these situations, it is important to realize that it can happen in any relationship. Statistics of domestic violence incidents show about the same numbers in same-sex relationships as heterosexual relationships.
Students should be especially aware of the prevalence of violent acts that don’t always get reported. According to statistics, less than 5 percent of rapes are reported. This is alarming because statistics also show that one in four women experience rape or attempted rape and one in 10 men are the victims of sexual assault while attending college. Two-thirds of the group reported they performed acts of this nature approximately six times. Although 90 to 95 percent of victims are women, domestic violence threatens males as well.
The Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education is the place to go for students who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence. The center offers free services such as advocacy and legal advice for staff members and students at the University. The center often serves as a way to get incidents out there, without filing a report with the police.
Keep domestic violence on your mind this month. Through education and awareness, the fight can be won. We must all step forward and speak up if anything is to change.