Relationship violence on the rise campuses

Samantha Zambito

A growing number of teenagers and college students are becoming victims of relationship violence and sexual assault. April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month and across America efforts were made to promote social change by educating the public on the dangers of relationship abuse and sexual violence.

Sexual assault and relationship violence is an increasing problem among teenagers and college-aged students.

“Generating public awareness is critical because domestic violence is so often an unseen issue,” Sara Woods, Esq., the director of public service careers and pro bono programs at Villanova Law School, said. “The key is that people need to be able to recognize the warning signs.”

According to an article in the Triangle, Drexel University’s student newspaper, many students are scared or humiliated to seek help after an assault.

Students must realize that their schools can provide resources that offer therapy, protection and assistance.

“If a student was in a violent relationship and came to me,” Woods said, “I would recommend that she speak to centers or agencies in the area because they offer counseling, legal assistance and shelters.”

According to Woods, the local area is stepping up their efforts to combat relationship violence.

“Programs are going into schools starting in third grade,” says Woods. “Students are taught about how they should treat others and things like appropriate and inappropriate touching are discussed.”

Relationship violence comes in many forms: physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, social abuse, stalking and intimidation.

The violence and abuse do not discriminate. Victims can be of any sex, age, religion, education level, or socioeconomic group.