October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and UC Irvine have dedicated themselves to raising awareness for the staggering statistics that are all too prevalent on a college campus. 1 in 3 or 32 percent of college students report dating violence by a previous partner and 25-33 percent when one or more partners identifies as LGBTQ, while 21 percent report dating abuse by a current partner.
The term domestic violence can be a misnomer, making teens and young adults think the violence is only serious if it takes place in a shared domestic setting or by domestic partners. There has been a recent push to expand the term of domestic violence to include dating violence, intimate partner violence and relationship abuse because they encompass the type of relationships young adults have with partners and friends they may not live with. This needs to be inclusive to young adults because women aged 16-24 experience the highest rate per capita of dating violence, but may be unaware as to what relationship abuse looks like or how it may be defined.
Domestic violence is defined as any form of violence where the primary motivator is the assertion of power or control. This partner violence appears in many forms: emotional, verbal, sexual, physical and financial. The differentiation between an actual physical attack (physical and sexual) and an implied physical threat (verbal, emotional and financial) are key to breaking down myths of relationship abuse because both are violent and aggressive forms of control: whether these behaviors result in physical violence does not matter.
UCI’s CARE (Campus Assault Resources Education) is at the forefront of this fight to raise awareness and has a packed October calendar. From donating old cellphones to the Hopeline project which supports survivors of domestic violence, to the second annual Laguna Beach Partner Retreat which promotes partners actively engaging with each other while hiking the serene Laguna Beach hillside, there are formal and informal, personal and communal ways to raise awareness of dating violence and promote healthy relationships.
DVAM is a universal topic because intimate partner violence does not discriminate race, gender or sexual orientation.
“It is more about promoting love and respect between everyone in our community,” CHAMPS (Challenging All Men to Prevent Sexism) coordinator Kevin Lam said. “And that is something everyone deserves.”
UCI’s DVAM events started this past week and will continue on until the end of October.
Oct. (CARE Office) “Hopeline Cellphone”
Verizon Wireless’ cellphone drive allows participants to donate used cellphones to survivors of domestic violence.
Oct. (CARE Office) “Spread the Love”
Stop by the CARE office and have your picture taken with a CARE sign that tells how you plan to spread the love.
Oct. (CARE Office) “Share Your Story”
CARE speakers will discuss personal experiences with dating violence, relationship abuse and stalking. If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Dr. Mandy Mount at email@example.com.
Oct. (CARE Office, weekly) “Group Support”
The CARE center will be holding group counseling sessions for survivors that need collective support. Contact the CARE office for more information.
Oct. 25 (Aldrich Park, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.) “Yoga Class in the Park”
Come out to the park and take the free yoga class and wear purple to show solidarity with survivors.
Oct. 26 (Laguna Beach, 1:00 – 6:00 p.m.) “Partner Retreat”
For $20 a couple, join CARE for a hike and beach bonfire at the beach. An RSVP for the event is mandatory.