By Brenna Everdale
October is a fun and festive time of the year when most of us are eating caramel apples, drinking pumpkin spice lattes and going to Halloween parties. But this month isn’t all fun and games; October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For college-aged women, this is particularly relevant. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the most common victims are women between the ages of 18-24, and one in three women will be victimized in her lifetime.
When I was a sophomore taking health class, I remember having to complete a workshop on healthy relationships in order to pass the course. We separated into small groups. My group was in a conference room in the SUB and we all introduced ourselves. I immediately thought the workshop was unnecessary and I felt uncomfortable discussing my personal feelings about relationships with strangers.
But eventually, the workshop addressed domestic violence. We were taught what constitutes an abusive relationship, at which point a young woman in my class began crying and told my professor that she realized she was in an abusive relationship and needed help escaping. My professor told her that he would walk her to the Women’s Center after the workshop so they could connect her with domestic violence
It turned out that this was one of the main reasons for the workshop, and I’m very glad that my classmate was able to learn about her situation and find people who could help her escape. It was very comforting to know that compassionate and caring individuals on campus are working to support the victims of this terrible crime, especially given the fact that I personally know many women and children who have been victimized in this way.
Although this month is about domestic violence and not necessarily abusive relationships, I would like to add that relationship abuse is more often psychological than physical. Breaking things, yelling, making threats, manipulative or controlling behaviors and attempts to isolate the victim from friends and family are all signs of an abuser. If any of these behaviors are present in your relationship, it is not normal, and it is possible that the situation will escalate to the point of violence.
Healing Environment Advocate Response Team at KU is an organization on campus that is working to help victims of domestic violence and raise awareness about this issue.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please contact HEART at KU by calling (610) 372-9540 or visiting the Women’s Center in Old Main. Don’t let yourself or your friends and family become a statistic.