Domestic violence can go by many different names including domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, relationship abuse or violence, and dating violence. No matter how one titles it, domestic violence is a pervasive societal issue that affects individuals across every gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic status.
It is not uncommon for an individual to believe that since they have not been hit by their partner, they can’t be in a domestic violence relationship. This is untrue. Domestic violence is not just about hitting or physical abuse, though that commonly happens. Domestic violence is really about exerting power and control over an intimate partner. Possessive and controlling behaviors are not always easy to spot in the beginning of a relationship and generally emerge over time. Occasionally these behaviors will be magnified by the use of drugs or alcohol but it is important to note that neither drugs nor alcohol cause someone to be aggressive, controlling, demeaning, or hurtful.
In 1984, the Power and Control Wheel was created by the staff at the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project as they wanted to describe battering for victims, offenders, criminal justice practitioners and the general public. The wheel contains the tactics chosen most often used by men to batter women. The wheel is gender specific as the battering of women by men continues to be the most common gender dynamic in such relationships.
Students who are managing situations involving Domestic Violence are entitled to protections under Title IX rules and regulations, and UMA has resources to help.
Students needing support in regards to an intimate partner violence situation should reach out to UMA (when it is safe to do so)- the most direct route for assistance is to reach out to our Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
There are a wide variety of options available to help students, including counseling support, academic adjustments, assistance with safety planning and more. And, we will always refer you to local supports (wherever you live) – in Maine, you can find Domestic Violence Resource Centers through the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence’s website (and those needing support around sexual assault can visit the Maine Coalition to End Sexual Assault’s website). These community-based resources offer support such as:
- Safety planning
- Assistance in requesting civil Protection from Abuse or Protection from Harassment orders (including mediation/advoacy assistance in such matters)
- Homelessness prevention / shelter services
- Medical care
- Support groups
- Referrals to legal assistance
If you need assistance because your circumstances have affected your ability to be engaged in your education, the sooner you are in touch with UMA, the easier it is to make supportive arrangements. Our goal is to help craft a plan that is do-able for the student and supports their success. When a student is not well positioned to be able to complete a course or courses, we always look to reduce academic and financial harm.