Posted 4:35 p.m. Oct. 29
By Robert Torte
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
Dating abuse is the most common form of violence on campus today, according to the Feminist Majority Foundation, a group focusing on domestic violence awareness during the month of October.
One in three women are victims of dating abuse, not including cases of sexual abuse according to the foundation. On Oct. 17, the group held a forum at George Washington University to open a dialogue about what they consider to be a vast number of college students who are in abusive relationships.
“Dating abuse is silent,” said Rus Funk, a member of a panel that included representatives from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Men for Gender Justice, and Amnesty International.
He said the reality is that most students are unaware when a relationship becomes abusive. He said the people most likely to know that a relationship is abusive are friends of the abuser. Often abusers brag about their actions.
“Friends don’t let friends batter the women they love,” Funk said. He added that psychological abuse is just as damaging as physical harm and that abusers do not even need to lift a hand.
Some students disputed the notion that abuse is widespread on college campuses.
“Domestic violence is not an issue on campus, at least from my experience,” saidBryan Shuy, a student at the University of Maryland.
At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, student Anthony Goodrow said because there is a low percentage of female students he believes abuse is not as common.
Funk said the idea that females are the only ones abused is a common misconception. Men are equally prone, he said.
While most universities have counseling services for students, no national organization exists to address directly the issue of abuse on a student level. Panelists pointed out that, ultimately, an individual must make the first step to address an abusive situation.
-Zeb Eckert contributed to this article