Take a look around at the students in your classroom. These are people engaged in their studies so they can achieve their dreams. These are people enjoying conversations and moments with their peers that they’ll cherish for years to come. One in three of these people who are a part of your daily classroom routine are a victim of dating violence. According to loveisrespect.org, these students have been subjected to some kind of physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse. Dating violence is a problem in the community of adolescents ages 16-24 that is not being talked about. While the passing of Karlie Hall is tragic, it has shown Millersville students the reality of dating violence at such a young age.
For over twenty years students, known as peer educators, have been spreading the message about various health issues facing college students in a non-judgmental fashion. Jayme Trogus, director of Center for Health Education and Promotion, explained that the students are providing “prevention based education”. These educators are providing information on various topics such as substance abuse and mental health, but they also provide information on sexual violence. Trogus explained that “sexual violence” is used as an umbrella term that includes sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and dating violence. The peer educators provide information to students on what warning signs to look for in an unhealthy relationship. An important message they are trying to convey is that dating violence can happen to college aged students. Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster says that some signs are jealousy, excessive texting, control over aspects of your life, violent threats, guilt or forced sexual activity, and treating you in ways that scare you. Dating violence is an incident of power and control, explained Trogus.
Since Karlie’s passing there has been a surge in help from not only current students, but alumni as well. It is through their donations that the peer educators, specifically those who focus on sexual violence, have been renamed to “Karlie’s Angels”. These students will honor and remember Karlie by continuing to bring awareness and education to students on the dangers of dating violence, sexual assault and abuse. “Karlie’s Angels” goal is to end dating violence on campus and for this to spread into society as well.
If you are a student at Millersville and you think you may be in a relationship of dating abuse, there are many resources for help both on and off campus. Students living in the resident halls can make their RA’s aware of the situation. Any student regardless of where they live on campus can contact MUPD or the borough police, counseling services, health services, judicial affairs (who can assist with room and class changes if needed), and the Center for Health Education and Promotion on campus. In the Lancaster community, students can reach out to Domestic Violence Services and the YWCA, just to name a few of the available resources.
As college students we all have a responsibility to become educated on dating violence so we can recognize the signs of unhealthy relationships. It’s important to utilize the resources that not only the campus offers, but the county to so every student can continue to pursue their dreams.