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Dating Violence Topic of Oct. 21 Event


Las Vegas, N.M. – The Highlands University Campus Violence Prevention Program presents a dating violence education event Oct. 21 to mark Domestic Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

From 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., students and the community are encouraged to make individual pledges about healthy dating in the lobby of the university’s Student Union Building at 8th Street and National Avenue.

Campus Violence Prevention Program staff will be on hand with the pledge sheets, along with domestic violence information and resources.

“We are focusing on dating violence because national statistics show that it is a significant problem on college campuses across the country,” said Corilia Ortega, CVPP advocacy and education coordinator. “One 2011 study found that 43 percent of college women who date report experiencing some violent and abusive dating behaviors.”

Ortega said there are many misperceptions about domestic abuse and dating violence.

“The biggest misperception is that it’s only abuse if it’s physical, like being hit. We want to increase awareness about the spectrum of dating violence – from coercion and threats, to intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, denying and blaming, and digital technology abuse.”

Nationwide, the use of digital technology is growing in domestic violence, from global positioning systems to monitor victims to threatening texts delivered via cell phones.

Ortega said that power and control characterize abusive relationships, while respect and equality are the foundation of healthy relationships.

“The cycle of domestic abuse often escalates from verbal and emotional to physical abuse,” said Kimberly Valdez-Blea, CVPP director. “College students see so many unhealthy relationships spotlighted in the media and pop culture, and sometimes think it’s normal and acceptable behavior.

“Other college students can recognize unhealthy behaviors in their friends’ relationships, but don’t know how to help. We’ll give them some ideas. The healthy dating pledge helps provide constructive information about rights and responsibilities in dating,” Valdez-Blea said.

Valdez-Blea added that the Oct.21 dating violence event is part of a CVPP education campaign called Speak Up designed to increase bystander intervention in dating violence.

Media arts senior Allie Burnquist, a Las Vegas native, designed four posters for Speak Out, which feature Highlands University student volunteers and campus scenes. The posters give examples of relationship violence and use the tagline: Speak up when you see a warning flag for dating violence in your friend’s relationship.”

The posters will be used in print as well as digital formats on campus, including LED screens in Donnelly Library and the Felix Martinez Building. The CVPP is also presenting talks about dating violence to students in the residence halls as part of an ongoing series of violence prevention talks.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four American women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, with an estimated 1.3 million women physically assaulted each year by an intimate partner.

The CDC reports that nearly one-third of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by an intimate partner. While an estimated 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women, approximately 15 percent are men.               

For more information about the dating violence event, contact Ortega at 505-454-3529 or visit CVPP on Facebook at No Violence HU.

The Campus Violence Prevention Program provides free and confidential advocacy and support services for Highlands University students. The office is on the third floor of the Student Union Building, Room 301, and the phone is 505-454-3445.  

Some support hotlines include the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233; the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673; and the National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline at 1-800-331-9474.

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