#DolphinsLiveWell: Domestic Violence on College Campuses, Speak up!

By Amibel Tineo ‘16,, President of W.A.G.E, Contributing Writer

Domestic violence is a dangerous and serious act that is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.   This can be physical, sexual, or emotional and partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.

Not many people realize that deviant actions made by individuals can be identified as a domestic violence. Actions such as being cursed out by your partner or forcing sex onto someone else who keeps refusing, or even getting touched by a stranger without permission are such examples. This is because it seems to be accepted by most people; therefore, others become accustomed to the idea that this is a “normal thing” that is happening in this generation. This is a major problem that is happening to most students on college campuses, both male and female. Hence, if students are becoming desensitized to the acts of domestic violence within relationships, or in any setting, this can lead to even worse future relationships since we are not putting a stop to the actions of the abuser.

However, I believe it is never too late for change in any age or place. But before we can learn to identify these violent acts and speak up to stop them from continuing, we have to understand the reasons why the victims and/or the bystanders do not take the initiative to speak up in the first place. According to the article, “The Domestic Violence Confessions Victims are Whispering to the World” on  the website www.ryot.org, many victims going through domestic violence confessed that they feel shameful and refuse to show weakness. They have a fear of threats received from the abuser, believe they deserve this form of treatment, or think that no one will believe them. The list of reasons as to why these victims do not report their abuser goes on and on, but there are other victims who have not even realized that they are in an abusive relationship with another person. This is where those who have witnessed this form of violence come into the picture of taking action and putting a stop to the madness. Subsequently, individuals who have seen or heard an act of domestic violence, whether it be in public or from a friend or relative’s experience, also have their own reasons as to why they do not speak up. Most bystanders admitted that when put into these situations, they do not know what to do about the situation or how to help.

So how can we effectively identify acts of domestic violence and stop it from happening to others and to ourselves? In reference to Safe Horizon’s website, experts advise that some signs of domestic violence are being physically abused (choking, hitting, kicking, punching, cheating, touching inappropriately without permission, isolating the victim from others, etc.), verbally abused (threatening to hurt the victim or someone close to them, harshly name-calling the victim, stalking, etc.), and emotionally abused (making the victim feel worthless, intimidated, hurt, forced, alone, controlled, afraid, etc.). Once you suspect these actions  are being done to you or someone else, research information for help, collect resources and ask professionals for help. There are many resources online that can be used to get help in any area or region you live in, so do not hold back!

Now a piece of advice from me to you all: Each and every one of you are valuable human beings! Both your body and your mind are like a treasure, so please choose those individuals who are worthy of knowing you and can respect you and your decisions. You deserve to be loved, respected and acknowledged. Thus, whether you have been a victim of domestic violence, witnessed an act of domestic violence or neither, please love yourself and your body enough to know that what you say or decide upon goes and not otherwise. Also, please speak up for victims who cannot find a voice or the courage to confess about their case of domestic violence, they need us as much as we need them!

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

If you or someone else is being abused, besides Le Moyne administrators, staff, faculty and Security, you can contact Vera House here in Syracuse at  (315) 422-7273  as well as the following resources:

National Domestic Violence Hotline for Victims   (1-800-799-7233)

OR visit www.safehorizon.org or call at 1-800-621-4673

Bystander line for domestic violence -1- 844-234-5463, text 87028 or send an instant message via www.familysafetyandhealing.org