Media Outlets Shed Light on Domestic Violence Issues

On average, 20 people per minute are the victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. Recently, domestic violence has become a high profile topic due to the arrest of NFL players this season for similar crimes.

According to a Duke University study titled “Criminal violence of NFL players compared to the General Population,” 45 NFL players were arrested for domestic violence, 16 of which were convicted of the charge in the past year.

Dr. Franca Mancini, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said, “I am upset and disheartened that we still see so much violence, especially from public figures and role models. We are more affected by what we hear and see than we realize.”

“In our culture, a culture of violence, a lack of respect for one another is almost accepted. We need to realize we can make a difference,” said Mancini.

Leann Burns, a sophmore communication student, said, “Domestic violence is everywhere. If you watch any television show or movie it is littered with violence.”

“Even on the nightly news they choose to cover the most violent stories because it will bring in a larger audience,” continued Burns.

This offseason, former Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely from the NFL for the alleged abuse of his now wife, Janay Palmer.

“I think the NFL’s response was delayed and weak,” said William McElrath, Chief of Monmouth University’s Police Department (MUPD). “Sadly, as the case progressed, they responded more to the public outrage than to the facts of the case.”

As stated by the Physiological Services on Monmouth University’s website, domestic violence is widespread. “One in every four women report being sexually or physically assaulted by a spouse, cohabiting partner or date at some time in their lifetime, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey,” the website declared.

The website defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior used to maintain control or assert power over an intimate partner, a parent, or a present or former household member.” The website continues to explain that abuse can be physical or psychological or in some cases, both.”

“Violence is common in our culture and is therefore common on campus as a reflection of our culture,” said Mancini. “It is coming up frequently for both men and women. We have seen an increase in adolescent reports of interpersonal violence.”

Mancini stresses the importance of seeking help when facing domestic or interpersonal violence. “People have great difficulty talking about this,” said Mancini. “However, not addressing the issue has far reaching effects. There is support. Do not feel shame, do not isolate yourself.”

McElrath said, “Victims of domestic violence need to be reminded that abusive behavior tends to increase and become more violent over time. It is also important to remember that psychological abuse can be as damaging to an individual as physical abuse.”

According to the Crime and Fire Statistics found on the University’s website, the University reported no instances of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.

There are many places on campus that Monmouth students can go to seek help when being abused. “Monmouth University is very progressive, very open, and very available. We really are a community,” said Mancini. “Here we take walk-ins or you can call for an appointment. We are free and confidential.”

Mancini also explained that students could also talk to a professor, an RA, advisors, a friend, or health services.

“I don’t believe that domestic violence is a problem on campus. I feel people can get aggressive in certain situations but I have never encountered a situation or heard of someone that has been a victim of domestic violence,” said Burns.

MUPD is also available for any student. McElrath advises students to call MUPD at any time during the day for assistance . “You will get an immediate response,” he said.

When there is a domestic violence case on campus McElrath said, “We also assist the victim in any way possible, such as obtaining restraining orders, arranging for the safety of the victim, obtaining psychological counseling if needed and assisting with the signing of complaints.”

It is vital for students to speak up when they believe one of their peers is facing abuse. Mancini stated, “You need to be able to say I’ll walk with you or call this number for help.” Mancini explained that some signs of abuse include a change in behavior, change in eating habits, difficulty sleeping, change in mood, and signs of bruises. “You have to observe very carefully, if you notice something, say something,” she added.

According to Mancini, some of the possible long-term effects include anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), difficulty focusing, low self-esteem, and can lead to physical problems.

In order to prevent domestic violence cases, it is important to know when to get help. “Individuals should watch out for some of the potential signs of abusive behavior such as extreme jealously, anger, controlling behavior, and isolating your boyfriend or girlfriend from their families,” said McElrath. He advised that people should get help, “Whenever they have been threatened or assaulted by boyfriends/girlfriends, live-in acquaintance, or anyone they reside with.”

When recovering from a previously violent lifestyle there is assurance that a better exists. “Your quality of life can improve, there is a lot of hope,” said Mancini. “There is a lot of support for survivors.”

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