October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Pass it on.
By Aria Amrom, JWI Intern
While college students are preoccupied with midterms, fall breaks, and their upcoming Halloween plans, domestic violence awareness month (DVAM) generally goes unnoticed. As a current George Washington University student, I was under the impression that domestic violence was irrelevant to young adults. However, after some research I discovered these unsettling statistics:
- Approximately 30 percent of college students have been in relationships that involve physical aggression. Even more have been in relationships that are emotionally abusive.
- One of five college females will experience some form of dating violence.
- A survey of adolescent and college students revealed that date rape accounted for 67 percent of sexual assaults.
- Approximately 90 percent of victims of sexual assault on college campuses know their attacker.
As I did further research, I discovered that many colleges are beginning to become more involved in DVAM and increase awareness amongst students. The University of Maryland has put red flags and posters around campus, as part of the Red Flag Campaign, a public awareness project which began in 2007 to increase the awareness and knowledge of dating violence on college campuses. Using a “bystander intervention” strategy, the program encourages friends to say something when they see signs of violence in their friends’ relationships.
There is definitely more that can be done to educate young men and women on domestic violence and how it impacts their life. One way to start is to join thousands of people in wearing purple on October 29th. “Purple Thursday Awareness Day” raises awareness and celebrates domestic violence survivors.
When I walk around my campus, I always come across students advocating for different causes or promoting different organizations. While George Washington University is very politically involved and supports many important issues, I have yet to see anything about domestic violence awareness month around school. In order to do my part, I have encouraged my sorority to wear purple on October 29th. Although this is only a small step, anything that can be done to encourage attention and knowledge is important. Everyone connects the color pink to breast cancer awareness, and it is my hope that one day domestic violence awareness will become so widespread, that it will come to mind when people see the color purple.
What are YOU doing to promote DVAM at your college? Bring the Red Flag Campaign to your school or ask your friends to wear purple on “Purple Thursday Awareness Day”!
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233