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The Many Faces of Domestic Violence

WI Staff | 10/27/2010, 11:48 p.m.

Domestic violence is hardly a new crisis in America. From the nation's inception, the concept of a man having the right to discipline his wife and children went hand-in-hand with being the head of his household. Advocating the end of domestic violence, however, has become more daunting for counselors whose mantra among abused women to leave their live-in boyfriends or husbands carries little weight among pre-adolescent and teenaged girls who make up the majority of new cases.

The case of 23-year-old college student Yeardley Love being savagely beaten and killed by her ex-boyfriend George Huguely, in May, sent shockwaves through college campuses across the nation. The circumstances surrounding Love's death on the campus of The University of Virginia were oddly similar to those of Latasha Norman, 20, a Jackson State University accounting student in Mississippi, whose body was recovered in late 2007, after the arrest of ex-boyfriend Stanley Cole.
In both instances evidence of domestic violence were prominent, but ignored by onlookers. Howard University has teamed up with the Verizon Foundation and Verizon Wireless to alert students to the warning signs of dating violence and to encourage students to speak up when they see friends in abusive relationships.

As a kick-off for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Howard University launched its Red Flag Campaign, dropping small red flags with key messages on the grounds of the college campus and placing posters that help educate students about dating violence in prime locations on the campus as well. According to a U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics report, women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of domestic violence. Some 'red flags' of abusive relationships include emotional abuse, excessive jealousy, isolation, victim blaming, coercion, sexual assault and stalking.

In addition to its Red Flag Campaign, Howard joined Verizon and Verizon Wireless in