The Daily Illini

Editorial: Communally ending domestic violence

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Talking about domestic violence, especially if it’s sexual assault, is a big deal on college campuses, as it’s an issue that is frequently swept under the rug rather than brought to light. Campaigns like “It’s On Us,” make sexual assault a public issue, but domestic violence, while less associated with college campuses, needs to be equally acknowledged.

We have no broadly sweeping editorial stance to take on the issue; domestic violence in all forms is wrong — that should be a universal view.

But we see it as our obligation, with Domestic Violence Awareness month starting today, to remind our campus community that if you see something, you need to say something.

This university is often sold as a community — initiatives like “Inclusive Illinois” highlight that we should act as one large family — and if we are to be a tight-knit community, it is crucial to speak up when you know or a suspect a crime is being committed, especially because these acts of speaking up can display and prove solidarity for potential victims.

Speak up not just because it is the right thing to do, but because if you speak up, you may be encouraging others to do so, as well. If we can encourage people to be active rather than serving as bystanders, we have the opportunity to prevent dangerous situations that risk people’s safety.

Domestic violence is the No. 1 call made to the Champaign police department, but domestic violence is often passed off as a crime people approach with a “well, it won’t happen to me,” attitude.

Don’t let it happen to anyone else, and abandon this attitude. Domestic violence happens every day and we have a moral obligation to stop it if it presents itself.

A number of social issues are present on a college campus at any one time, but not many have a prevention that can be crowd-sourced quite like domestic violence. Speak up if your friend, sibling, cousin or co-worker is in trouble.

Domestic violence is mostly likely to occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. — which are lively hours for a majority of college campuses. From when the sun goes down to when the bars close, this community should work to be as attuned as ever, which means keeping a constant eye on suspicious looking situations that could lead to domestic or sexual abuse.

So think of this as your yearly reminder to be a good community member.

Think of this as your yearly reminder that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men are victims of domestic violence. Which means at this university 4,940 of our female peers and 2,702 of our male peers are statistically going to be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives.

Let’s knock that number down together. Let’s make this campus community a safer place.

If you see something, say something.

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