College campuses are full of young relationships, and students discovering who they are for the first time. It is when they are in their first relationships that they begin to establish patterns and boundaries of what type of behavior is healthy and what is not. We are quick to talk about on-campus rape and its frightening frequency, however on-campus domestic violence rarely gets discussed or addressed.
It is easier for us to understand the ambiguous threat that a drunken rape or sexual assault can represent, but the harsh reality is that in the case of young women, they are more likely to be abused by a person that they are close to.
It’s important that colleges are aware of how to deal with cases of domestic violence on campus just as they are equipped to deal with on-campus rape. If anything, it is more difficult to stop the signs of domestic abuse because victims are more likely to internalize the behavior and either normalize it or tell themselves that they are to blame.
Colleges are often places where young people get their first glimpse into the adult world. Schools should have processes and responses in place that protect the victims and provide a support system that makes them feel that they can safely report domestic violence. It is possible that the tightly-knit campus community can make it feel more difficult to report such cases.
Colleges should speak to trusted legal advisors about putting processes and safety nets in place for the protection of their students when it comes to domestic violence on campus.
Source: FindLaw, “Domestic violence on college campuses,” accessed Sep. 22, 2017