Violating rights is dating violence
Dating violence comes in the forms of sexual assault, physical violence and verbal, emotional, or mental abuse. When one person on a date or in a relationship violates the other’s rights, it becomes dating violence – something that no one hopes to deal with, but which happens.
If someone has encountered violence, “They should first report it to police and also seek a therapist for professional help,” said John Catlett, a mental health therapist at Student Health Services. “Most people keep dating violence to themselves and don’t report it since they feel it is a personal thing, but this doesn’t resolve the problem.”
There are ways to decrease the risk of dating violence.
“In order for students to prevent dating violence, students should go on more group dates before going on a date alone,” Catlett said. “This will reduce the odds of dating violence. Just because you are referred by someone doesn’t mean that they are always safe.”
Most victims of dating violence are women. Men tend to be the ones who are violent in the relationship and most dating violence occurs when there has been a history of violence in their family.
Men can also be the victims in the relationship.
Some victims pursue a restraining order if they feel endangered; however, it is important to note that to get a restraining order there needs to be proof of aggravation. This could include text messages, voicemail and notes.
For those who may have been assaulted or know someone who has been a victim, it’s best to get help from a professional.
“Its not unusual for victims to feel anxiety,” Catlett said. “They need to take care of themselves and need personal therapy. They can come to Student Health Services for visits.”
Student Health Services exists to help students mentally, physically and emotionally. They help with depression and anxiety and are there for anyone who feels like they need to talk to someone. Student Health Services have both male and female therapists if students prefer to talk to one over the other.
Ron Hammond, a professor in the Behavioral Science department, created a dating violence survey where 5,000 UVU students were randomly selected. Of these 5,000 selected, 618 students – about 12 percent – took the survey.
“This made a good sample size for what we were researching,” Hammond said.
Through his survey, Hammond was able to find out that an average student goes on three and a half dates a month. This is not counting just hanging out – this is an actual one-on-one dinner and a movie type of date.
“We asked students if they felt like these dates were a rewarding experience or not,” Hammond said. “The married students enjoyed it more than the single students. We feel that the married students don’t remember the stress of dating and the planning that goes into dating.”
When students were asked if they preferred hanging out in a group, physical affection or going on a real date, most replied that they would prefer a real date. When asked about how they felt about physical affection on dates, males reported very low pressure while females felt five times more.
The survey also discovered that women are five times more likely than men to hesitate about going on a date because of fear of violence. Females are twice as likely to be mistreated on a date and they have higher expectations for the date than males.
For help with dating violence or domestic violence, free hotlines are open 24 hours a day. Call the Utah Domestic Violence Link Line at 800-897-LINK or the Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Line at 888-421-1100.