North Texas Daily

Group educates on dating violence

Group educates on dating violence

October 09
13:42 2015
[df-subtitle]Insights on relationship violence[/df-subtitle]

Chelsea Watkins | Staff Writer

@chelloo

Leaders in Family Education hosted a session on intimate dating violence Thursday night for students to understand and identify the various aspects of dating violence and the resources available for those affected.

LIFE, an organization that focuses on family relationships, hosted the event in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Michelle Larva, treasurer of LIFE, said dating violence affects a wide range of people.

“Even if you’re not affected, then your friends might be or your loved one.” Larva said.

Renee McNamara, assistant director of student advocacy, led the discussion with the intent of dispelling myths about relationship violence.

“I want [people] to know that there are people out there to help and there are ways that they can help.” McNamara said.

She started the presentation by giving a clear definition of intimate partner violence.

“It’s an intentional pattern of behavior one uses to maintain power and control over a person with whom they are in a relationship with or was previously,” McNamara said.

In intimate dating violence, a person can be victim of both physical and sexual violence, stalking or psychological aggression.

McNamara said despite the news media’s depiction of domestic violence being against low-income, minority women, it can happen and affect anyone.

In 2014, 132 women in Texas were killed at the hand of their partner. Victims ranged from 16-90 years old, according to a report by the Texas Council on Family Violence.

Attendees were given a number of warning signs and red flags to watch out for in their partner, like displaying extreme jealousy, unpredictable mood swings, explosive behaviors, and hypersensitivity. McNamara noted that these individual signs do not necessarily mean a person is abusive.

Additionally, they were also informed how to identify a victim through signs of physical injuries, making excuses for sustained injuries, becoming withdrawn and fear of their partner. When confronting a victim, a person should ask the right questions while being cautious of unintentional victim blaming.

Abuse not only affects the primary victim, but also those close to them, especially children.

Texas has a compulsory reporting law for anyone suspecting a child lives in an abusive household. Once someone reports their suspicions, they are protected from liability, said Dr. Kelly Rogers, faculty member in the department of education psychology and licensed counselor.

“The standard is if you even suspect, you report,” Rogers said.

UNT offers resources for students seeking help through the Dean of Students, Counseling and Testing Services, Health and Wellness, and UNT police.

Denton Friends of the Family is another resource within the community. They offer an emergency shelter for those seeking help, as well as a 24-hour crisis hotline at 940-382 3500.

“There is no excuse ever for any type of assault,” McNamara said.

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