As many as 25 percent of female students experience sexual assault during their college career, according to Break the Cycle Inc. In light of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it can be beneficial for students to be educated on the cycles, causes and environments.
According to the CCWRC Women’s Resource Center, victims of domestic abuse follow a pattern called the “cycle of abuse.” First, tension builds between the couple. Next, an incident occurs which can be verbal, emotional or physical.
After that, the abuser apologies, blames the victim or gives excuses. Finally, the victim forgives the abuser and everything goes back to normal until tensions rise again.
Women between the ages of 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of dating violence, according to the US Department of Justice.
The small atmosphere that many colleges create cause victims to feel like they are trapped in a relationship. Moving to a new town can also make students feel lonely and further prompt them to stay with the abuser out of fear of having nowhere else to go.
Additionally, social networks like Twitter and Instagram may help perpetrators stalk and abuse their partners 24/7.
John Feeney, University Police chief, said he is extremely aware when it comes to domestic violence.
“Domestic violence doesn’t have to be purely physical,” he said. “It can be emotional and psychological as well.”
If students get help soon enough, it can help prevent the abuse from turning physical, Feeney said.
Chico State has a legal obligation under Title IX to provide every student with the right to safely receive an education.
Because of this, students can request to move out of the dorms, switch certain classes and call for a disciplinary complaint against the abuser.
Safe Place is a program at Chico State devoted to helping individuals that are dealing with violence. The organization helps students with sexual assault, hate crimes, domestic violence and stalking. All services are confidential and free.
The campus also offers free counseling for all of its students. Programs included are individual, group and couple counseling as well as workshops. Students can make an appointment at anytime, and all individual sessions are confidential.
Students that are dealing with dating violence or know someone who is can call the National Dating Violence Hotline (1-866-331-9474) or text “loveis” to 22522.
“It’s important for people not to struggle alone if their relationships turn sour,” Feeney said. “I want students to utilize resources we have at this university.”
Suzy Leamon can be reached at [email protected] or @susanleamon on Twitter.