CHICAGO, 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 for the first time in Chicago at the Loyola University Chicago campus. Loyola joins the University of Illinois at Springfield among the first to participate in the 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 Loyola University Chicago for assistance is: (773) 508-2530. The posters now are being displayed in numerous locations on the Loyola campus.
"Loyola University Chicago is proud to help launch this significant campaign to empower students with the ability to recognize partner abuse and to know that the Illinois Attorney General and their university can help them to manage those dangerous situations," said Loyola President Michael J. Garanzini, S.J. "We commend and thank Verizon Wireless for their vision and strong corporate leadership in this worthy effort." "The awareness campaign is an exceptional opportunity to encourage more students to learn about partner abuse by coming to us at the Wellness Center so that they have the tools to recognize unhealthy relationships and stop abuse," said Diane Asaro, director of Loyola's Wellness Center.
Madigan and Nolan today encouraged all other Illinois colleges to join Loyola University Chicago 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 37.5 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.