Dating and domestic violence on campus

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With a renewed commitment to create and maintain safe and inclusive environments, the higher education community has devoted its collective and nationwide attention, time, and resources to revise campus policies, to develop new response protocols and disciplinary procedures, to train administrators, and to educate students about sexual assault prevention.While any effort to enhance our institutional responses to sexual assault on campus is laudable, unfortunately, what seems to have been somewhat overlooked not only by the media but also by well-meaning administrators are the issues of dating and domestic violence.And attempting to prevent that is a holistic approach that starts with sexual harassment and goes through sexual assault and even murder.When we talk about these things, we have to talk about them on this continuum." To what extent is dating violence an issue on campus?As a result, media scrutiny was appropriately brought to the issue of relationship violence among professional athletes and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was admonished for what was perceived as his ineffectual response.During that same time period, however, four college women were murdered by current or former relationship partners (University of Chicago, San Francisco State University, Cornell University, University of South Carolina).Colleges and universities should demonstrate to every student that these crimes will not be tolerated, that perpetrators will face serious consequences, and that holistic services are available for victims.The Consolidated Youth and Engaging Men Program provides the opportunity for communities to increase collaboration among non-profit victim service providers, community service organizations including those focused on engaging men as role models, schools, tribes and tribal governments, and local government agencies to enhance prevention, intervention, and response efforts in addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking in children, youth and young adults ages 0-24.

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While our attention is understandably devoted to combatting campus sexual assault and debating consent, let us not forget to afford equivalent attention to the problem of dating violence on our campuses.The discrepancy in the numbers generated by the various research projects certainly suggests that more robust research is needed to discern the degree to which college students are involved in psychologically and physically abusive relationships.Regardless of the numbers, however, the fact remains that institutions have as much of an obligation – both regulatory and moral - to address these issues as those of rape or other penetrative forms of sexual assault.It must be communicated – and demonstrated - to our students, administrators, and faculty members that any form of relationship violence is antithetical to the values of the higher education community.There are a few basic steps that can be taken to address relationship violence on campus: Education: First and foremost, institutions must educate their students – as well as administrators and faculty - to overcome any assumptions that dating and domestic violence doesn’t occur on college campuses.

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