Two female students at different Texas universities suffered persistent harassment from men whose lives were going nowhere. Both thought they could handle the excessive, unwanted attention and never reported the harassment to police or university officials, reports the Houston Chronicle. Both lives ended tragically and violently.
College students are particularly vulnerable to such volatile relationships, experts say, because they are away from their support network at home, aren’t aware of how to identify or deal with unhealthy interactions, and tend to downplay the warning signs. Students typically think they are invulnerable or immune to crime. “I firmly believe there’s a lack of awareness of what is healthy or unhealthy in dating relationships,” said Ashley Teitelbaum of the Brazos County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Women 20-24 posted the highest average annual rate among all age groups for intimate partner victimization not resulting in death, says the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. “It’s something we really try to impress upon students – to pay attention to these flags and not deny them, not minimize them,” said Heather Davies of the University of Texas’ Voices Against Violence program, which helps students victimized by relationship violence, sexual assaults, or stalking.