This week The Daily Cardinal is introducing a new series called the Student Organization Neighborhood. Biweekly we will be inviting contributions from various student groups across campus, advocating for issues important to their mission. Our first editorial comes courtesy of Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, in anticipation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Look for further editorials from other organizations in the coming weeks.
PAVE, Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, is a student organization dedicated to preventing sexual assault and dating/domestic violence through education and activism. PAVE's work is prevention-based, meaning that we work to stop sexual assault and dating/domestic violence before it happens. We challenge the cultural norms and attitudes that encourage and support multiple forms of sexual assault and dating/domestic violence.
October is a very important month to PAVE's work, as it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic/dating violence is an ongoing pattern of behavior in which one person exerts power and control over another—this can happen in any type of intimate partnership, not just marriages or heterosexual relationships. In fact, 11 percent of women and 23 percent of men in homosexual relationships report being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by their intimate partner according to a 2009 National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet, 2009. Domestic/dating violence is more than physical violence. It can take the form of emotional abuse, interference with other positive relationships and other controlling behaviors.
The implications of domestic/dating violence are severe. Whenever a man is violent against a woman, it perpetuates the image of all men as brutes who misuse their physical power to prey on the vulnerable; the majority of men are not abusive. Statistically, men are more often the perpetrators of domestic/dating violence, but that is not to say that men cannot be victims and that women cannot be perpetrators.
Domestic/dating violence issues are ongoing and quite common. In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were murdered by an intimate partner according to a 2003 report from the U.S. Department of Justice. Figures from 2005 show that in 21 percent of college relationships, one of the parties involved is being abused. These numbers only reflect the reported crimes; as Justice Department research from 2000 shows that only one-quarter of all domestic violence incidents are reported to the police.
Given how prevalent these issues are, we urge you, as students and concerned citizens, to take action against dating/domestic violence. You can speak out publicly against these issues, reach out to support someone who you believe is a victim, or even offer support to domestic violence counseling programs and shelters. Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, the domestic violence shelter for Dane County, offers a wide range of support services to domestic violence victims. If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of domestic/dating violence, do not hesitate to call their confidential, 24-hour helpline at 608-251-4445. Also, if you are looking for a way to get involved, they are always looking for volunteers!
Make it clear amongst your friends that any form of dating/domestic violence or sexual violence is unacceptable and will not be overlooked. We need to protect each other and ourselves. If we see a situation that looks unsafe, we need to intervene or report it. Taking these steps will help ensure a safer and more supportive community for all of us. If you want to show your support and speak out against these issues, PAVE encourages you to attend one or more of the events that PAVE is hosting for DVAM.
Get involved. Get consent. Create a world without sexual assault and dating/domestic violence.
Sapir Sasson is the media advocate for PAVE. This article was written as a collaboration of PAVE staff. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com or stop by the PAVE office at the Student Activity Center, office #3147.