Dating safety remains prime concern

Stevenson University’s Wellness Center offers various services from which students can learn about dating safety in college.

The Caves Wellness Center at Stevenson University in Owings Mills is the site of help for dating safety. (Villager file photo)

The Caves Wellness Center provides services for all students attending Stevenson to feel safe, stay mentally strong, and physically healthy through college relationships.

Dr. Linda Reymann, the first director of the Stevenson Wellness Center, said that the center offers confidential individual counseling, information on legal assistance, free transportation to Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), countless brochures and pamphlets on relationship safety, as well as other resources that are detailed on the wellness website.

The term “dating safety” is very broad and covers anything that happens in a relationship that makes a person feel unsafe, mentally or physically.

The “Healthy Relationships” brochure includes a list of potential unhealthy relationship characteristics including “any kind of physical or emotional abuse,” “any kind of forced sexual activity,” “changing yourself to meet their standards,” “focusing all of your time and energy on your partner, and neglecting yourself,” or others. The complete list of indicators and more information can be found in this brochure, located in the lobby of the Wellness Center.

Another resource available at the Wellness Center offers a relationship quiz. GMBC has also printed a brochure titled “Domestic Violence Program,” which includes questions that guide students through the process of determining whether their relationship is healthy or not.

OTHER RESOURCES

Stevenson University has partnered with TurnAround Inc., a counseling service also available to Stevenson students. TurnAround Inc.’s mission is “to provide counseling and support services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence,” according to www.turnaroundinc.org.

Apps like Tinder can offer potentially dangerous meet-ups unless users are careful and diligent in their searches. (Photo from Tinder.com)

Stevenson also works with the One Love Foundation, “the national leader in educating young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships and galvanizing them as leaders of change,” according to its website, www.joinonelove.org.

Morgan Somerville, director of student engagement at Stevenson, said that all of the university’s athletic coaches have pledged to help promote healthy relationships through “#LoveBetter.” She also said that the Escalation Workshop, which is  coordinated through the One Love Foundation, will be available to students this fall.

Beyond the Escalation Workshop, the women’s lacrosse team has participated in the Yards for Yeardley program that honors Yeardley Love, the domestic violence victim that sparked the creation of the One Love Foundation. The program also raises money for the One Love Foundation through participants running, biking, walking, and other physical activities.

Outside of domestic and sexual assault, testing for sexually transmitted diseases to ensure ongoing health is also covered by the Wellness Center, according to www.stevenson.edu. There are also free condoms located in the lobby.

HOW TO HELP

Reymann explained how important “bystander intervention” is when it comes to dating safety. This means “see something, say something.” It is important to take care of personal safety first, but if a student sees a couple that may be crossing the line into unsafe habits, it is essential that help for the person in need is offered.

Stevenson security is available 24/7, so if there are dangers on campus, it is vital to make a report. If concerns arise but reporting to security is not considered necessary, then Reymann suggests approaching the person in a non-threatening way about the issue and explaining the resources that the Wellness Center has to offer.

Like Stevenson, other colleges have recognized the need to support their students in all aspects– not just their academics, but also their personal relationships.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s police and public safety department has posted a list of safe dating tips on the  website. The list includes suggestions like always bringing a cell phone when meeting someone, always meeting in a public place, making personal travel arrangements, keeping friends on standby and updating them when possible.

The iPhone app, “Find My Friends,” lets users share their location with family members and friends. (Photo from www.imore.com)

The University of Alabama also offers an application on phones called “Rave Guardian” that provides “instant communications with friends, family, co-workers, UAB police, and 911,” according to its website.

Another useful tool for dating iPhone users can depend on is the application called “Find My Friends” that allows users to share locations with their contacts and offers a setting that notifies the user when the person they are monitoring leaves their location.

Stevenson has provided numerous emergency call stations throughout both campuses for additional and immediate access to security.

October is “Domestic Violence Awareness” month. Throughout the month, programs will seek to raise awareness about this issue because it can save someone’s life.

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