Special to The Denisonian
Denison Feminists sponsored a talk by the group It’s Abuse, a movement to bring awareness to and end relationship abuse.
Caitlin Tully, the speaker who visited campus on April 6, and other members have travel throughout different campuses to discuss relationship abuse and to help provide strategies to avoid or deal with dating abuse.
Dating abuse, Tully explained as, “any kind of violence between two people in an intimate partnership.” Tully emphasized that the variables that define an intimate partnership can vary, such that there is no time limit or commitment needed to have an intimate partnership. Tully also explained that there is not one set definition, which can make the phrase confusing to understand. As Tully continued to refer back to dating abuse, the concept became more clear, showing that discussion is necessary to understand this topic.
Although Tully touched on multiple aspects of dating abuse, she focused largely on digital abuse. Tully defined digital abuse as “the use of digital communication to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner.” She continued to explain how one out of six college students reported digitial abuse, and one out of three give their passwords to their partner.
Tully also explained that one out of two students have received sexual images, and four out of five students have received sexually suggestive messages. These statistics were used to show how prominent digital abuse is within college campuses, despite previous knowledge.
Erin Katalinic ‘16, president of Denison Feminists, explained why she wanted Tully to come to Denison’s campus.
“Digital dating abuse is something we don’t talk about. Despite the fact that Aug-O helps people learn about physical, sexual and emotional abuse, digital abuse isn’t called abuse even if it is,” Katalinic said.
“I think that especially since it is something prominent among our age, as in our generation, I hope that people learned new stuff from this talk and can talk about it and be able to recognize the warning signs.”
In an interview with Tully, she discussed more on her own personal opinions on digital abuse.
“I think digital dating abuse has become very normalized, in that some of the behaviors just seem like what everybody does, rather than something that is potentially about power or control,” Tully said. “Often times students will say things like, ‘Oh well, my friend experiences that too,’ or, ‘I know this is something that goes on on campus,’ so they feel like it’s not a big deal. They definitely recognize how it feels but because it’s going on around them, they don’t necessarily recognize it as abuse.”