News Release

Verizon Wireless, Illinois Attorney General Madigan Launch Campaign to Combat Partner Abuse

University of Illinois at Springfield First to Begin Statewide Drive to Safeguard Students

January 26, 2004

Carolyn Schamberger
carolyn.schamberger1@verizonwireless.com
847-619-4282Paul Zemitzsch
314-725-5645

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Verizon Wireless, the nation's leading wireless communications provider, today joined with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in a statewide public education campaign to raise awareness of partner abuse among students on Illinois college campuses and to encourage victims of this abuse to seek help.

The campaign was launched at the University of Illinois at Springfield campus, the first college to participate in the statewide initiative.

"The damaging cycle of domestic violence often begins with partner abuse among our youth," said Tracy Nolan, president — Illinois/Wisconsin Region, Verizon Wireless. "Through this campaign, we hope to bring a greater focus on this problem and on the lasting negative impact it can have on young people on campuses throughout the state." Madigan praised the partner abuse initiative, calling it "a strong first step toward raising awareness of this serious problem and toward educating students to protect themselves from the harmful, lifetime effects of domestic violence."

To launch the campaign, two partner-abuse awareness posters are being distributed and/or made available to college campuses and organizations for display in student centers, libraries, cafeterias, dormitories, sorority and fraternity houses, and other locations. The free posters depict verbal statements that often precede physical or sexual abuse. Each poster prominently includes a local number to call for counseling or other help. The local number at UIS for assistance is (217) 206-7122. The posters now are being displayed in numerous locations on the UIS campus.

"The University of Illinois at Springfield is proud to lead the way in this campaign to build awareness of the insidious effects of partner abuse," said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "We want our students and those in colleges and universities throughout the state to know that they do not have to tolerate emotional, sexual or physical abuse at any time under any circumstances."

"The UIS Counseling Center is pleased that UIS is the first campus in Illinois to join the initiative to prevent partner abuse on Illinois campuses," said Dr. Judy Shipp, director of the UIS Counseling Center.

Madigan and Nolan today encouraged all other Illinois colleges to join UIS in raising awareness of this issue that may affect many of their students.

Nolan said, "According to statistics from the U.S Department of Justice on partner violence, between 20-25 percent of all college women will be raped at least once during college. Other studies report that 39 percent of college students are affected by some form of dating violence, including sexual and physical assaults."

"These frightening statistics are the tip of the iceberg," Madigan said. "Verbal and emotional abuse can be very painful and often can escalate to physical abuse. Besides physical and sexual violence, partner abuse can include threats, emotional abuse, harassment or stalking to control partner behavior."

Nolan said that the new posters specifically highlight common phrases of verbal abuse that frequently are used to intimidate and control victims and may lead to even more violent behavior.

"As our awareness campaign says, 'Abuse doesn't have to be physical to beat you up,' and 'Abuse doesn't have to be physical to cut deep,'" she said. "We want students to know that help is available and that they shouldn't tolerate abusive behavior." For more information about the partner abuse initiative, contact Carolyn Schamberger at Verizon Wireless, (847) 619-4282 or Jennifer Welch at the Illinois Attorney General's office, (312) 814-5846.

Colleges and organizations interested in receiving the posters may email their requests to: PartnerAbuse@VerizonWireless.com.  

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 36 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.  To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com.  

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