MASON CITY, Iowa - As part of Dating Violence Awareness month, students are at the Iowa statehouse and are rallying against dating violence across the country.
While there are protections in place for victims of domestic assault, one group in Des Moines is looking to bring awareness about violence in dating relationships to the forefront.
“I hope that this will help have an increase awareness of dating violence and acquaintance rape. Then maybe just get parents talking,” said Mary Ingham, Executive Director for Crisis Intervention Services.
Those with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence are introducing legislation that would give those in strictly dating relationships similar protections given to those who are married, and those protections could help to keep victims safe from repeat offenses.
“It should be considered domestic abuse, just dating violence. Like it is considered when you have an intimate relationship and you’re dating. I think the legislator should pass that, it would be great,” said Lt. Deb Ryg with Clear Lake Police.
“To look at it more as this is a health issue this is affecting your kiss is affecting our future where I think 20 years ago sexual assault domestic violence for both you does women’s issues and I think we’re shifting that today and see me that one of issues these are affected communities,” said Ingham.
Right now, if someone is in a dating relationship where they are not living together, not married and don’t have any kids, if an act of violence occurs it’s listed as an assault, but this group wants to see new laws in place that include such things as a no contact order and harsher penalties. Rules that are in place for married couples.
“Each time a woman or man is victimized, it also impacts their family, their friends and everyone close to them. So everyone has someone who has identified with sexual violence,” said Ingham.