College campus dating violence
During orientation when first year students set foot on Colorado Mesa University’s campus, employees hold domestic violence presentations.Resident Assistants also plan programs to understand and increase awareness about the issue.
“Students are the most at risk for dating violence, because they aren’t experienced to see what red flags there are, and what is dangerous and abusive,” said Linda Johnston, director of the Ending of Violence Against Women Project. People think it has to be physical, but it can be verbal — it is just a different form of abuse.” Because students do not always know what is normal in a relationship, according to Johnston, the offenders can make excuses for the abuse with reasons like love, and often blame the victim for bringing on the abuse.People don’t want the relationship to end, just the abuse.” Another problem that officials like Malsam see is that society does not always judge domestic violence for what it is.“Our culture is set up so we have different blinders for it.“We like to ask, instead of ‘why doesn’t the victim leave,’ ‘why doesn’t the offender stop beating or abusing her?’ It is a natural instinct to think why don’t they just leave, and it is hard to understand, but it isn’t just as easy as that.” Officials interviewed agreed that education and awareness are key to recognizing and helping stop domestic violence.When it comes to domestic violence, numbers can be deceiving. Lonnie Chavez of the Grand Junction Police Department, domestic violence cases do not paint an accurate picture by themselves because the incidents are not crimes –– they are crime enhancers.
The term refers to a domestic violence charge that can only be attached to another crime, such as battery, assault or stalking.
“We look at Snow White when the prince comes up and kisses her while she is asleep,” Malsam said.
“And it’s this big romantic moment, but under the law, that kiss is sexual assault because she wasn’t in capacity to say yes or no.
“It makes it difficult because we can’t do anything and we know it is happening, but there is nothing we can do [if they don’t report it].” According to law enforcement and academic officials, the statistics fluctuate according to the size of the university.
“Domestic violence is in every ethnic, socio-economic background,” said Fort Collins District Attorney Emily Humphrey.
For this reason, many domestic violence crimes do not get reported because the victim will be fearful to report or leave the offender.