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Kuntz: Red flags when dating

BY KATIE KUNTZ | NOVEMBER 09, 2012 6:30 AM

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The red flags around campus mark the beginning of the Men’s Antiviolence Council’s first Red Flag campaign to raise awareness about dating violence on campus.

For many college students, dating violence is an inescapable reality during their college careers, and the Red Flag campaign may prove to be a critical part in bringing this type of violence out of the shadows.

The goals are to provide students with the tools they need to protect themselves and also to recognize the signs when someone else is in trouble and help the campus environment become healthier and happier for all students.

“We’re not born knowing how to have healthy relationships,” said Linda Kroon, the director of the Women’s Resource and Action Center. “Dating violence is a big problem on campus, and we want to offer education to alert people and get people thinking about the warning signs of this type of violence.”

In fact, in the United States, approximately 35 percent of women and 28 percent of men have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released in 2010.

Most of the assaults occurred before victims reach 25 years old. As many as one-third of college women reported to having been a victim of an abusive dating relationship, according to a survey released last year by Columbia University Health Services.

In Iowa, the problem could be exacerbated by recent funding cuts for domestic-violence programs and shelters. Federal funding for victim-assistance programs declined by nearly $1.5 million over the last three years, and state funding has decreased by approximately $214,000, according to the Domestic Violence Intervention Program.

“I’m very concerned about the funding cuts,” Kroon said. “But I hope that if we will not be able to offer as many services for victims, we may be able to offer preventative services and have fewer victims.”

So much must be done to provide ways to empower people so that no one has to be a victim of intimate violence. The university community must pay attention to the Red Flags, because if we notice the warning signs, violence may be prevented.


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