It’s cuffing season folks. Cuffing season unofficially begins annually on November 1 and comes to an end on February 15. During this time bachelors, bachelorettes and other avid singletons find themselves wanting to be tied down or “cuffed” into a relationship.

This partly has to do with the fact that the weather is terrible and everyone just wants to stay indoors and cuddle up next to a fire with a good book. Well, that can get boring so people tend to long for a relationship. However, during this romantic time of year many people have to unfortunately experience the dark side of relationships.

Domestic violence is a serious issue that we as a society need to discuss and fix. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in three women and one in four men experience relationship violence in their lifetime. This can involve willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault or other abusive behaviors that are part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.

This behavior is extremely serious and is heightened during college time. Individuals between the ages 18-24 are three times more likely to experience domestic abuse. In addition, 32% of all college students experienced dating violence by a current or previous partner. That is roughly 768,000 college students each year who have to undergo abuse from a partner.

This is a number that should never be this high and extreme. College is about getting a sound education,learning about who you truly are and having one of the best experiences of your life. However, for nearly a quarter of all college students, their entire college experience is negatively affected as a result of significant other.

How can we, as a university, change these damning numbers? The most obvious answer is education. Teaching students what domestic assault is and encouraging or even fear-mongering students into safe and healthy relationships. That seems to be the most basic answer that society has pushed for decades.

Clearly, this methodology has worked wonders, which explains why a quarter of individuals still experience domestic abuse. However, while education is still a correct answer in my opinion, I believe that there are better ways to go about doing this.

Instead of just giving facts and pushing fear into students’ minds, what we should be doing is educating students on how to be empowered within a relationship. Most relationships throughout society have been male-dominated, which explains why 80% of all domestic abuse victims are women.

College campuses need to show women that they are equals in a relationship and that true relationships are based on equal representation.

Organizations such as The One Love Foundation have attempted at bringing to life this kind of teaching. The One Love Foundation was established after a University of Virginia student, Yeardley Love, committed suicide due to an abusive boyfriend. This organization and numerous others are trying to promote equality in a relationship and empowering students to be an equal in their relationship.

College is supposed to be a time of learning and having the best experiences people will remember forever. For those students who decide to settle down with a loved one, there is always a worry about domestic abuse. The way to ensure that these students are safe and happy in their relationship is by empowering individuals to be equal and confident.

We must empower and allow that those affected by domestic abuse can feel comfortable enough to stand up and put an end to the assault. We need and we can end domestic violence.