October is a month devoted to bringing awareness to breast cancer. What some may not know,
October is also domestic violence awareness month.
Domestic violence negatively impacts not only the victims but their loved ones as well. Being in
college and in an abusive relationship can take a toll on a student’s mental health and cause
their social life and grades to plummet.
Florida A&M University has resources such as counseling and health services to assist students
in exiting violent relationships. The university also has a Victim Advocate Program for students
and employees who once suffered or currently have troubles in their relationship. This program
allows victims to confidentially report abuse and receive emotional support.
Victim Advocate Program employee Shauntavia Clinton says although the support is offered, it
is not common for students to share their relationship struggles.
“It is rare that students come in and express their worries about their domestic violence
relationships,” Clinton said. “Oftentimes students think of a domestic violence relationship as
physical, many don’t understand that there are other aspects of abuse, such as verbal and
emotional, therefore it’s not reported.”
According to an article on ncadv.org, there is no particular trait that an abuser possesses, but
often a set of characteristics and red flags to look out for.
One of the first signs of an abuser is a person who is possessive and does not like their partner
to leave home without them. Abusers tend to be nice between periods of abuse and are seen
as nice people outside of the relationship.
A fourth-year student who asked to not to be identified, said they wish they would have known
the signs of abuse they were enduring long before they did.
“For so long I felt trapped, but I wasn’t sure why, I didn’t realize what was happening until
about a year in and I felt so dumb for staying but he was the only person who I felt like saw
me,” she said.
For the month of October, the Victim Advocate Program will be collecting daily items such as
toiletries and nonperishable foods and supplying them to a local domestic violence shelter.
Anyone interested in donating can leave supplies at the Efferson Student Union.
Domestic violence impacts people every day and it is important that victims have an outlet to
help them navigate their relationships. The National Domestic Violence hotline is available 24/7
for anyone who needs to talk. The number is 800-799-7233.