Domestic Violence on College Campuses

Sexual Assault Isn't The Biggest Threat On College Campuses

College women are at the highest risk for domestic violence than any other age group.

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With the #MeToo movement drawing more attention to sexual assault, violent situations are at the forefront of everyone's minds. But while we now know just how rampant sexual assault is on college campuses, one equally destructive kind of violence isn't getting the same type of attention.

Domestic Violence Statistics

Women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence per capita across the United States. This means that college women are at the highest risk for domestic violence in relationships than any other age group. According to data from the University of Michigan:

  • 21% of college students reported dating violence by their current partner
  • 32% reported dating violence by a previous partner
  • 53% of all domestic violence survivors were abused by a current or former significant other (more than half!)
  • 42% of college women who reported being stalked say they were stalked by a current or former boyfriend
  • 60% of acquaintance rapes on college campuses occur in dating relationships

One of the major factors for domestic violence on college campuses is that many victims don't recognize the signs of abuse. According to a 2009 Teen Dating Abuse Report, as many as 70% of young people don't realize they're in an abusive relationship. Psychologists argue that if emotional or physical violence is presented in someone's first defining relationship, it limits the survivor from understanding healthy relationships moving forward. Over time, that person could continue to fall for abusive partners.

The majority of college students today have reported knowing someone being abused. However, many choose not to intervene - out of fear it will make it worse, fear of retaliation from the abuser, or feeling it's not their business to get involved in someone else's relationship. Domestic violence attorneys claim it can be very difficult to find evidence for domestic violence because these cases are largely based on the word of one person against another. But if you believe a friend is the victim of intimate partner violence, it's important to say something.

Signs of Domestic Violence in Relationships

There is not always an easy way to identify if someone you care about is being abused. Domestic violence comes in many forms, including emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and digital abuse. Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behaviors by one partner to maintain control over the other. In college relationships, this can look like a variety of different things. A few red flags include:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Possessiveness
  • Controlling who a partner sees and what they wear
  • Unpredictability
  • Bad temper
  • Forced sex or disregard for partner's consent
  • Sabotaging a partner's birth control, or refusing to respect agreed upon methods
  • Blaming a partner for anything and everything
  • Accusing a partner of flirting or having an affair
  • Demanding access to a partner's phone or personal records
  • Controlling a partner's finances or exclusive control over shared finances
  • Demeaning or embarrassing a partner in public situations

Many abusers have common traits, including extreme insecurity and the ability to appear charming to those outside the relationship. They'll often compensate for abusive outbursts with overdone apologies and moments of perfect happiness, then snap back into abusive behavior as soon as something doesn't go their way. To many on the outside, abusive relationships can seem perfectly happy. And to many in abusive relationships, they've become conditioned to make excuses for their partner by saying "they're not like this all the time" or "it's okay, it was my fault".

The frequency at which college women experience domestic violence should be alarming and cause for concern. If you believe someone is being emotionally abused, talk to them about their circumstances then speak with someone you trust about how to move forward.

Changes on College Campuses

Many schools are becoming aware of the threat of domestic violence, and are creating rules to make a change. The U.S. Department of Education published changes to the Cleary Act in 2015, requiring colleges to college statics for reports of dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Colleges are also required to have a report of how they're handling domestic violence cases in their policies and procedures.

There is still a long way to go with drawing awareness to this issue. But as in any situation, if you see something, say something.



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10 Ways College Is 100% NOTHING Like High School

Once-a-day showers go to dry shampoo for four days straight.

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As a college freshman well into their second semester, it has officially occurred to me just how different, and often times better, college is compared to its predecessor, high school.

Here are just 10 ways the two could not be MORE different:

1. How you sleep

You'll go from waking up three hours before school to three minutes before class

2. How you hygiene

Once-a-day showers develop into dry shampoo for four days straight.

3. How you eat

Pizza goes from a once-in-a-while treat to an everyday food group.

4. How you socialize

You'll go from being nice to everyone to disliking people for no reason.

5. How much effort you put into your appearance

High school contour was on fleek and now there's somehow mascara on your forehead.

6. How you nap

Naps go from two hours to 10 minutes.

7. How you operate heavy machinery

Driving goes from 10 and 2 with perfectly lined up mirrors to driving with your knees and eating a taco.

8. Your classmates

High school classes are with all of your friends and college classes have strangers in them almost every day.

9. The people teaching you things

High school teachers are scary and mean, while college professors become your friends.

10. Textbooks

High school textbooks are provided where college textbooks need to be bought with another student loan.

Cover Image Credit: Instargram//Madsbythesea

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I'm About To Burst, Laughing At The People Who Thought My Pregnancy Meant I Had To Drop Out Of College

I get stared at in the halls and asked if I am going to drop out. Here are ways being a pregnant student has changed my college experience.

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I have been pregnant the entire time that I have been in graduate school. It was not how I planned to experience grad school, but it has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective and will give me a lovely son (seriously, any second now). There are certain things that I did not realize about being a pregnant student until I experienced it, and maybe my experiences can help better prepare other women, or give them something to relate to since pregnant students are such a rare breed.

As a grad student and a 25-year-old, I am around the average age to have my first child in America. I am not dependent on my parents and the world does not treat me like a child anymore.

However, since I decided to pursue my master's degree, I feel that people are not used to seeing pregnant and student in the same sentence without gasping.

When I first told my father, his first reaction was to ask me if I was to going to drop out.

This became a recurrent reaction from my family and friends (which my boyfriend who is also a student was never asked once). I did not expect the hesitant reactions and it made me feel shameful to be a pregnant student. As my expecting belly grew I always noticed that people on campus would stare at my stomach.

As I walked past, their eyes followed my belly like I had a giant red felt "A" on my chest.

None of my classmates are pregnant and thinking back, I can't remember ever seeing a pregnant woman in all of my five years of college. Since none of my classmates were pregnant, I felt like I had no one to relate to. There are a lot of things that pregnancy effects, besides the baby in the tummy part. I could not go out and get drinks with my classmates and bond with them the way that they were all doing. I could not relate to them fashionably because maternity clothes are heinous. I also feel like pregnancy put up a barrier because I would have a baby eventually and will always be busy, so why bother?

Pregnancy side effects would sometimes take a toll on my school work. In the first trimester, I could barely get out of bed because I was so tired. I could easily have slept 14 hours straight and being a working student did not help. I would seep through some of my classes and had to take the hit to my attendance points. I also have "pregnancy brain." Pregnancy brain is a real thing and is not well known enough. My mind can be so scattered that I forget my friend's names while I am speaking to them. I think it is October when it is March. Pregnancy brain has made me forget that I even go to school or that I work in twenty minutes. I missed due dates or completely misread instructions on assignments. For someone who needs A's on every assignment to function, it hurt because I would never make that mistake otherwise.

There are also benefits to being a pregnant student. I am never hungover and I have never been tempted to ditch a night class for a drinking holiday.

Pregnancy has allowed me to prioritize my school work and ignore the college lifestyle.

Before I knew I was pregnant, I went with my roommates to bars in Chicago's Lincoln Park. I feel so happy knowing getting wasted from $3 shots on a Wednesday is behind me. I now truly have nothing better to do at night than complete my homework.

Another benefit is that you sometimes get special treatment. The special treatment that pregnant women get is awesome. It is my favorite part and sometimes makes me wish I could be pregnant forever. People feel obligated to wait on me hand and foot. If I drop something, people rush to pick it up. It is completely not necessary but I get to feel like a princess for a day (or 280 days). Even though I was singled out for being the only pregnant woman, I was always treated especially nicely by students and professors.

Regardless of my friends and family expecting me to drop out, I am doing phenomenal in grad school. I have received A's in every class and have loved all of my classes. Being a pregnant student can be tough, but it is totally doable. If you find yourself to be a pregnant student, don't feel discouraged. It is not ruining your college experience but allowing you to do college differently.

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