By Savannah Ridgley, Staff Writer
October is a time for change: the weather turns colder, the mornings and evenings turn darker, and seasonal depression creeps into the psyches of even the most cheerful students. Couples plan out their matching costumes and go apple picking, but something even scarier than the ghosts and ghouls of Halloween is something else the month of October serves to bring awareness to: domestic violence. As so many people develop their first adult relationships in college, it becomes even more important that students are able to identify the differences between healthy and abusive relationships.
When we talk about domestic violence, physical violence often comes to mind first, and for good reason; according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, within their lifetime 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence of some kind from an intimate partner, and intimate partner violence makes up 15% of all violent crime. Additionally, nearly half of all sexual assault survivors were raped by an acquaintance, and 45.4% of these women and 29% of these men were assaulted by an intimate partner. With such high rates of physical violence, it can be hard to even think about the other forms an abusive relationship can take.
Despite the physical connotations of the word violence, the term domestic violence also refers to verbal, mental, and emotional abuse. Generally, red flags for abusive behavior relate back to one common idea: maintaining control over a partner. This can range from isolating and/or peer pressuring a partner to regulating a partner’s schedule and/or blaming the abusive behavior on outside factors such as drugs, alcohol, or stress.
Are you concerned that you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship? Farmington has multiple resources available. If you’d like a familiar person to talk to, Community Assistants, staff at the Student Health Center, and the counselors in the Center for Student Development are all ready to help in any way they can. Farmington is also fortunate to have a connection to Safe Voices, an organization that specifically works to help those affected by domestic violence.
On average, it takes 7 attempts to leave an abusive relationship before successfully doing so. This October, think about more than pumpkin carving and what to wear to the dance; think about how you can intervene or be a support for someone still caught in an abusive relationship. Want to show your support, but don’t know anyone to support right now? Purple is the domestic violence awareness color, so pack a little extra purple into your wardrobe to show that the fight against domestic violence is still going strong.