What is Domestic Violence? How is it any different than Sexual Assault? Who cares? These are some of the many questions I hope to answer about the domestic violence movement to convince you of why it is important especially for us as college students.
Domestic Violence is defined by the United States Department of Justice as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.”
This definition is short but contains a lot of information. The pattern of abuse can take many forms ranging from “physical, sexual, emotional, economic, to psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.” (USDofJ)
To many, including myself, that seems to be very intense and could never happen to anyone. Yet it does. More than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men will be in a violent relationship in their lifetime. AND nearly 50% of these women and 40% of these men will experience this violence between the ages of 18-24 years old. (One Love Foundation)
These statistic are mind boggling and show how important it is to act NOW.
You may be confused how Domestic Violence is different than Sexual Assault. Sexual Assault is defined by RAINN[Rape Abuse and Incest National Network] as “sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.” This is different than domestic violence not only due to the difference in relationship but also the gravity of the issue due to this difference.
Domestic Violence can be stopped before it happens because there are warning signs that can be detected. These warning signs have been outlined by many organizations in hopes of informing potential victims when they need to get help from a professional or friends to leave the relationship before they are harmed.
You may not know what these signs are and that is the exact reason why the Domestic Violence Movement is important. To educate all people so that no one will be stuck in an unhealthy relationship.