Red Flags Remind

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Women’s Center Raises Awarness of Domestic Violence.

By: Vanessa Joy

Originally Posted: 10/9/07

It may surprise many to realize that verbal and physical acts including breaking furniture, punchingRed Flags Remind walls, swearing, name calling, mocking, shouting, interrupting and ridiculing are all warning signs of violence. More specifically, these are considered warning signs of violence directed towards women.

What one might mistake as a ‘normal’ argument between boy and girl may in fact be the foreshadowing of a more intense and perhaps deadly display of emotions in the future. According to FBI statistics, “every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in this country.” Furthermore, “typically, in 72-77% of the cases, violence occurs only after a couple has become seriously involved, rather than in the early, more casual, stages of dating,” reports Angela Browne, in her article, “When Battered Women Kill.” Dating violence is a real threat to campus communities nationwide.

As a result, the UConn Women’s Center has chosen to dedicate the next few weeks to educating students on those often-ignored domestic violence warning signs and will provide a variety of promotional and educational materials that aim to prevent violence directed towards women. These materials are available on the Women’s Center Web site and are all part of The Red Flag Campaign, made visible by the red flags that students can now see around campus.

Specifically, this is a public awareness campaign designed to address dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on campuses.

“The Red Flag campaign, although it is silent, sounds a powerful message that these issues affect everyone,” said Caitlin Torino, chairperson of the campaign. “We are working against the traditional belief system that abuse is a ‘private matter.'”

The red flags set up around campus are a visual reminder that violence against women is an all-too-common occurrence. Torino hopes these flags will remind students to actively think about this issue and perhaps influence them to make appropriate changes in their lives in order to prevent future violence against women.

A common misconception about violence against women is that it is solely a physical act.

“Many college students don’t realize that their own friends and peers may be victims of dating violence, or that they themselves may be cycling in an abusive pattern within their own relationships,” Torino said. “In part, this is due to common myths, which include the misperception that physical violence is the only form of abuse. In reality, violence against women in relationships is marked by patterns of power and control that may include not only physical assault, but also emotional and verbal abuse.”

Common forms of such emotional and verbal abuse include excessive jealousy, possessiveness, not listening, interrupting, changing topics, criticism and put-downs.

But dating violence does not just stop at physical or emotional control, it can also involve sexual control.

According to a study by the National Institute of Health, “one-fifth of college women experience forced sex by someone they know.” Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that, “more than 80% of all rapes are acquaintance rapes.” Just because a person is involved in a serious relationship, it does not give their partner the right to have sex with them against their will.

However, despite all the awareness campaigns against domestic violence, many UConn students say it is still a large issue on campus.

“Someone that I know said that their boyfriend at one point, they were in a public place, just like physically pushed them, for like making fun of them or something, and people around them that were watching, uh, looked very alarmed but didn’t really intrude,” said 3rd-semester undecided major Ashley Yalof. “I think she said she started crying as soon as it happened and he immediately apologized, but still.”

In an effort to help those harmed by domestic violence, the Women’s Center is sponsoring a survivor’s group for women who have experienced actual or attempted sexual assault at any time in their lives.

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