Safe HarborUR It Ends Now2 9.4.15 wishes to thank our partners at the University of Richmond for inviting us to speak at the It Ends Now Teach In event on Sept. 4. This campus event brought together students, staff and faculty from a several departments to engage in an open dialogue about sexual and relationship violence – on campus, in our community, in the media and around the world.

Our Outreach & Education Manager Jen Miller gave a presentation titled “Looking for Dating Red Flags,” in which she shared how to spot abusive behaviors and ways to help friends who are experiencing relationship violence. Jen shared some shocking statistics that hit home with the campus crowd:

  • Each year, there are about 293,000 victims of sexual assault
  • More than half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner; another 40 percent reported their assailant was an acquaintance
    • For male victims, more than half (52.4%) reported being raped by an acquaintance, and 15.1 percent by a stranger
  • Most female victims (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25
    • 42.2 percent experienced their first rape before the age of 18
    • 27.8% of male victims experienced their first rape when they were 10 years old or younger
  • Forty-two percent of college women who are raped tell no one about the assault
  • It’s estimated that only 5 percent of sexual assaults on campus are reported

UR It Ends Now 3 9.4.15With the prevalence of sexual assault in our society, much less on campus, it’s important that students, staff and faculty alike feel empowered to prevent violence and provide compassionate support to survivors.

While physical abuse is a definite red flag of intimate partner violence, Jen advised the crowd to pay attention to the subtler signs of a dangerous relationship:

  • Feeling afraid of your partner
  • Feeling isolated
  • Losing your friends
  • Changing your behavior because of your partner’s jealousy
  • Feeling embarrassed, ashamed, put down or guilty
  • Feeling manipulated or controlled
  • Feeling nervous or sick to your stomach when your partner is irritated, frustrated or angry
  • Feeling as if your partner touches you in ways you wish they wouldn’t

UR It Ends Now 9.4.15These red flags are felt, not seen, but they are just as big a warning as being threatened or physically hurt by a partner. Emotional abuse can often escalate into physical abuse or sexual violence, and Jen urged the audience to not ignore these signs if they pop up in a friend’s relationship, or with their own partner.

Other presentations at “It Ends Now” included advice from Cynthia R. Micklem, Richmond’s supervising assistant commonwealth attorney, regarding the importance of safety while dating online. Kerry Fankhauser, the interim dean of Westhampton College, reviewed U of R’s policy regarding consent. Political science professor Dr. Monti Datta shared his preliminary results from a global survey that looked at forced marriage as a form of modern slavery, and his colleague Dr . Kevin Cherry explored ancient philosopher Socrates’ understanding of equality UR It Ends Now 4 9.4.15between men and women. Dr. Julianne Giullard of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies presented on high-profile media examples that illustrate the connections between gender and violence in society. In her concluding presentation, law professor Dr. Shari Motro asked the audience to ponder whether law represents a solution that can heal our troubled cultural understanding of consent. Audience members were provided with information about on-campus and community resources to support survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence.

We really enjoyed sharing our resources with this group, and we’re grateful to have been part of the conversation. Thanks again to U of R for inviting us to raise awareness of dating violence and promote healthy relationships!