KIMT News 3 – As the upcoming school year approaches, one of the most talked about issues outside the classroom may be dating violence.
You don’t have to see it, to know it exists.
Dating violence is an issue that impacts every college and university around the country.
Administrators are working to bring the message to the forefront and let students know, they’re not alone.
“Sexual assault cases are complicated to say the least,” said Jason Ramaker.
As the Dean of Students at Waldorf College, Jason Ramaker says he understands how difficult discussing dating violence can be.
However, he says it’s in everyone’s best interest to address the issue.
“They’re providing a lot more resources for us to pull on, giving us ideas on things we can do on campus. We can provide both the student and the college a better way to prevent these kinds of things from happening. Also, how to respond and how to respond quickly when they do happen,” said Ramaker.
New legislation is putting pressure on schools to educate their staff and students on dating violence prevention.
Schools that fail to comply, could lose access to federal student aid.
“There are some colleges that make poor decisions, and it makes the national news. It makes all of us look bad, but you do have to hold institutions accountable,” said Ramaker.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, as many as 50 percent of these incidents are reported, but only 20 percent are reported to authorities.
Often, friends and family are left with the tough task of reporting the violence to authorities.
Waldorf sophomore, Abbie Wells, says reporting the crime can be the first step in helping a friend in need.
“It’s definitely a hard position as a friend, but I think they need to take that step, and tell somebody. An RA, or a professor or someone on a college campus,” said Wells.
However, as Waldorf senior, Peterson Jean-Pierre explains, not everyone feels it’s their decision to make.
“If they come to me, it’s not because they want me to tell someone else. They may want me to comfort them, or for me to give them advice on something that they should do,” said Jean-Pierre.
“The more we talk about it, the more that we can communicate with students, and the more resources we can provide,” said Ramaker.
At Waldorf College, all incoming freshman will be required to view an online video on reporting dating violence, a first for the school.
Jason also tells us they intend on having national speakers come to campus to help share the message of ending dating violence.
There are currently 39 states where victims of dating violence can apply for restraining orders from their perpetrators.
Both Minnesota and Iowa are among those states.
For more information on who you can talk to, you can contact the numbers below:
Sexual Assault Center – 641-422-7433
24-Hour Crisis Line – 641-424-9133
Crisis Intervention Center – 800-479-9071