Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates educate students on relationship red flags


Within the minute it takes to read this sentence, an average of 20 people were abused by their partner in America.

Women between the ages of 18 and 24 -- the average age of college students -- are the most common survivors of intimate partner violence.

With October being Domestic Abuse Awareness month, the Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates held an educational program highlighting relationship red flags.

The program featured a educational presentation to help the audience put what abuse is into perspective, as well as who experiences it.

“The material they covered and the way they presented it made it interesting and informative, sophomore Erin Broomfield said. “They really knew how to grab an audience's attention.”

Intimate Partner Violence is the physical, sexual and psychological abuse by a current or former partner or spouse. IPV can include stalking, coerce and control.

According to the panel, one in three women and one in four men experience domestic violence in their lifetime. About 75 percent of Americans know a survivor of domestic violence. SAPA emphasized the need for consent before sexual acts, including partners in a relationship -— “being in a relationship does not equal consent,” read a slide.

“It is nice knowing what I feel was correct and that I wasn’t alone,” senior Kandace Trombley said.

Abuse isn't only physical, but can also be mental. According to the AP, mental abuse is just as prevalent and painful as physical abuse, but is often not taken as seriously.

In May, there was a hashtag on Twitter, “#MaybeHeDoesn’tHitYou” created by artist Zahira Kelly. The hashtag was meant to bring awareness to mental abuse.

“One of the greatest resources that SAPA can offer is confidentiality,” said Tangela Smith, a SAPA graduate assistant. “Confidentiality to not only students, but also to faculty and any community member that might reach out to us.”

Students interested in becoming an advocate for SAPA, the group is meeting at 7 p.m. Oct.19 at the Bovee University Center Lake Michigan Room.

There is also a Intimate Partner Violence support group available through the counseling center Tuesdays at 2 p.m. in Foust Hall 103.

“One thing we always talk about is our ability to provide a bridge to resources for students, faculty, and community members,” Smith said.

SAPA has a 24-hour available hotline at (989) 774-2255.