WEST LAFAYETTE, IN — Verizon Wireless today joined Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter and Purdue University in bringing to West Lafayette a statewide public education campaign to raise awareness of partner abuse among students, with the hope of encouraging victims of this crime to seek help.
"The damaging cycle of domestic violence often begins with partner abuse among our youth," said Michelle Gilbert, public relations manager, Indiana/Kentucky/ Michigan Region, 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 Hoosiers."
"Our goal is to let college students know that abuse is not acceptable," said Attorney General Carter. "It is harmful in itself and can lead to physical or sexual abuse that can scar young people far beyond their college years. Students must learn now how to recognize abusive behavior."
As part of the statewide campaign, two partner abuse awareness posters are being distributed to several Indiana colleges, universities and campus organizations for display in student centers, libraries, cafeterias, dormitories, sorority and fraternity houses, and other high-traffic campus locations.
The free posters 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 at least one local number to call for counseling or other help. The local numbers for IU are the Sexual Assault Crisis Service at (812) 855-8900 and Middleway House at (812) 336-0846. The posters also feature the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence's statewide 24-hour hotline, which is (800) 332-7385.
Educating women at the nation's universities about their risk of violence is critical, as research studies show that college women are at greater risk for sexual assault than women in the general population (Fisher et al., 1998; DeKeseredy & Kelly, 1993). After conducting the most recent national study on campus rape that surveyed 4,446 college women, researchers estimated that if the risk of victimization were projected across a college career, the percentage of completed or attempted rapes among women would climb to between one-fifth and one-quarter (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000).
A study of physical assault against college women recently found that 16.6 percent had been the target of physical aggression in the preceding year and that more than half (53.6 percent) had been threatened with violence (Leonard, Quigley & Collins, 2002). Finally, studies now document significant rates of stalking victimization among college women, with one study finding that 27 percent of college women will be victimized in that way (Spitzberg, 2002).
L. Tony Hawkins, dean of students, commended Verizon Wireless for its strong corporate leadership in raising awareness of the partner abuse issue.
"Purdue University is proud to join Verizon Wireless in launching this significant campaign to enable students to recognize partner abuse and to make them aware that the Indiana attorney general and university counselors and law enforcement agencies can help them to manage these dangerous situations," Hawkins said. "The awareness campaign is an exceptional opportunity to encourage more students to learn about partner abuse so that they are able to recognize unhealthy relationships and stop abuse."
Carter and Gilbert encouraged all Indiana colleges and universities to join Indiana University 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,'" Gilbert 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 Michelle Gilbert at Verizon Wireless, 248-915-3680, or Staci Schneider at the Indiana Attorney General's office, 317-232-6351. Colleges and organizations interested in receiving the posters may email their requests to PartnerAbuse@VerizonWireless.com.
About Verizon Wireless
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