Face Domestic Abuse in Academia

When domestic abuse happens on campus

By Haoyuan Gao

Domestic abuse is always a private topic at present society. However, when it takes place on campus, it is no longer just a violent crime, but as well as an academic issue.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In a common sense, domestic abuse takes place within a family. College education is the first time for those young adults live on their own and deal with relationships each other.

Students go to college for numbers and studies. Some people suggest that the academic world is not a real world, but an artificial study environment. People live in academic world do not experience as much as people who are outside academia.

According to the Police Department of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the campus does have domestic violence happened around, but not a lot. In the State of Illinois, the law bounds that if there is a clear-cut aggressor, when the police receive a call and find out a victim with bruises or bleeding, they have the duty to arrest the aggressor; even sometime the victim does not want that happened, that happened all the time.


Abuse inside Academia

Kathryn B.H. Clancy is the Assistant Professor of Anthropology Department at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She runs a study project called Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE) with three other scholars: Robin G. Nelson, Julienne N. Rutherford and Katie Hinde. The SAFE project focuses on the people who are working for field studies, and getting involved in harassment and assault.

Clancy finds out that most scientific areas in the academic world require field studies for both undergraduate and graduate students. She suggests that “a hostile work environment” not only causes impacts on a person’s psychological behaviors, but also makes damages to the study.

For more information, read her article I had no power to say ‘that’s not okay’: Reports of harassment and abuse in the field.

Click here to listen to my audio reporting! You can also read Audio Script Here!


Face Domestic Abuse in Academia

“Just Call the Police”

Roy Acree, Captain of Operations and Special Event Coordination of University Police Department, suggests calling the police when the abuse happens to you or even around you. He said that the University Police Department here is similar to any city departments and has to assure of domestic violence; however, most of the domestic battles were never reported to the police.

University Police Department at U of I at Urbana-Champaign

University Police Department at U of I at Urbana-Champaign

He knows that sometimes people think that police should not rule such kinds of family issues, or personal issues. The battle results from various aspects, such as cash, kids, and even sexual. Captain Acree explains that when the police take a role in the battle, it even becomes worse – the couples or people were fighting start to fighting together against the police, because they think it is none of the police’s business to be there. Moreover, he says that it would be really dangerous for the police officer to be there. It is understandable that sometimes the victims might think that it was not their faults, and even some of them care about calling the police would lead to damages on their reputation.

Under the State Law of Illinois, if your friend is arrested for domestic violence, you have to go to jail—one of the conditions is that there is a protection for the victim for 72 hours, which is called “No Contact Order.” Once the person is released, the victim should have the sense to keep away from that person, which is the situation applied over campus.


“I’ll help!”

Toni Ford, Office Support Associate of Human Resource Shared Service Center at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, takes serious considerations on domestic abuse. She says that she would like to help, if her colleague is suffering from domestic abuse. She believes that the working environment is important, so, if someone around her is in such situation, she would feel upset as well. Ford says she would like to try her best to find everything could help the victims; and let them to contact the proper people for help, such as the police and the counselor.

Toni Ford

Toni Ford, Office Support Associate of Human Resource Shared Service Center at U of I at Urbana-Champaign

According to Ford, as a staff member, the university offers Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP), which has counselors there to provide the assistance the victim need. The FSAP provides the free short-term counseling, crisis service and referrals to appropriate resources. Also, under the Recommended Reading tab, there are articles that are categorized in different family or social issues people might face in their life.

Moreover, she mentioned that if a person is worry about the reputation, she recommends to write anonymous letter, or to go talk to the Women Resource Center on campus. In this way, they can still get the help they need, as well as the protection of their identities. She also suggests that making themselves anonymous is also another better way to keep themselves be safe and to avoid being abused again.


“We’ll help!”

Womens Resources Center

Womens Resources Center

Gabrielle Smith, the graduate assistant and volunteer coordinator of Women Resource Center, says that Women Resource Center helps building a community on campus and provides specific information for the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.



Although this place is called Women Resource Center, the information there is not only restricted to female victims, as well as males. What is more, there is also an organization for male victims called ManTalks. The members of this organization meet here and talk about the issues that facing masculinity.

The resources in Women Resource Center include the contact information of Emergency Dean Services, the University Police, Mental health, Safe Place and the local police department. Smith says that professors or faculties have the same information as Women Resource Center; however, if the victim needs someone to come with him or her, Women Resource Center has assistant directors and directors with the proper training background and the experiences of helping the victims or the survivors of domestic abuse as well as sexual assault. They can provide more detail help to the people who need it.

Brochures at Women Resource Center

Brochures at Women Resource Center

According to Smith, it is always a great starting point for everyone to come and talk to them in Woman Resource Center, if the person has an issue and does not know where to go.

For more information, here is my video reporting! You can also view Video Script Here!

Let’s face domestic abuse in academic world! There are always more than one can help you!

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