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Students Learn About Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
Tuesday, 05 October 2010

October 5-- What do you do if you're a victim of date rape?  Don't keep it a secret, according to Cristina Dumitrescu with Georgia Legal Services. 

"I really didn't really realize it until I started working with Georgia Legal Services and started having domestic violence victims coming in who are 17 and 18 years old.  I started talking on college campuses to students and that's why were here is to get the word out and encourage people to communicate and to seek help if they need it," she says.

Dumitrescu was part of a Domestic Violence Awareness Month presentation Tuesday at Brewton Parker College in Mount Vernon.  She says many date rapes occur after drinking too much, "Consensual sex is when both parties agree to it.  If one party is drunk and has no capacity to make decisions, you are probably not ready to decide if you want to have sex."

Over 80 percent of women who are date raped never report it, but they should, according to Dumitrescu.  "She should seek help.  Tell somebody, a counselor, Georgia Legal Services, your parents and hopefully that person will be able to help lead you to the right place, but don'tbe quiet and just sweep it under the rug," she advises.

Perception of Males Can Perpetuate Domestic Violence 

One in four women in the U.S. experiences some type of domestic violence.  Anna Robertson with the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault located in Atlanta, says its due in part to our culture and its perception of the male role in society.

"The perception is that males are the aggressor in the relationship, that males dominate relationships and the traditional role of men is to be the provider.  Sometimes that's been turned on its head to say men are to be in control of a relationship and in control of all things that are going on.  Sometime that kind of thinking in a family and community can allow a violent perpertrator to continue to commit violence against his family, his children and even people outside the family," she says.

In order to get out of such relationships, Robertson advises women to make connections.  "They can talk with people within their community, their family, their friends and their church.  Don't be isolated.  We don't always know we're perpetuating violence, so if someone can keep connections with people around them it can really be the key to saving someone's life," Robertson says.

In the Toombs County area, The Refuge Domestic Violence Shelter is a point of contact for women experiencing domestic violence.  It's Director is Betty Dell Williams at 538-9935.

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