News Release

Verizon Wireless, Illinois Attorney General Madigan Introduce Campaign to Combat Partner Abuse at Northern Illinois University

NIU Joins Statewide Drive to Safeguard Students

September 7, 2004

Carolyn Schamberger
carolyn.schamberger1@verizonwireless.com
847-619-4282Caroline Villanueva
For Verizon Wireless
caroline@sequel-llc.com
314-725-5645

DEKALB, IL — Verizon Wireless today joined with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Northern Illinois University (NIU) in bringing to NIU a statewide public education campaign to raise awareness of partner abuse among students, and to encourage victims of this abuse to seek help.

As the first Illinois campus to become part of this campaign during the 2004—05 academic year, NIU joins the University of Illinois at Springfield and Loyola University-Chicago, both of which supported the statewide campaign beginning in early 2004.

"The damaging cycle of domestic violence often begins with partner abuse among our youth," said Carolyn Schamberger, public relations manager for Verizon Wireless. "Through this campaign, we hope to put a greater focus on this problem and on the lasting negative impact it can have on young people on campuses throughout the state."

"Our goal is to let college students know that abuse is not acceptable," said Gen. Madigan. "It is harmful in itself and can lead to physical or sexual abuse that can scar young women far beyond their college years. Students must learn now how to recognize abusive behavior and how to protect themselves, whether they are on a date or walking home after a late-night party."

As part of the statewide 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 posters now are being displayed in numerous locations on the NIU campus.

The free posters specifically highlight common phrases of verbal abuse that frequently are used to intimidate and control victims and may signal more violent behavior. Each poster prominently includes a local number to call for counseling or other help. The local numbers at NIU are: 815-756-5228 and 815-753-1206.

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.

NIU President John Peters commended Verizon Wireless for its strong corporate leadership in raising awareness of the partner abuse issue. "Northern Illinois University is proud to join Verizon Wireless in launching this significant campaign that can empower students to recognize partner abuse and to know that the Illinois Attorney General and their university can help them to manage these dangerous situations."

"The awareness campaign is an exceptional opportunity to encourage more students to learn about partner abuse so that they have the tools to recognize unhealthy relationships and stop abuse," said Kathy Hotelling, director of the NIU Counseling and Student Development Center.

Madigan and Schamberger encouraged all Illinois colleges to join NIU this year in raising awareness of an issue that may affect many of their students.

"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,'" Schamberger 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 40.4 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/verizonwireless.

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