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Dating violence occurs on campus just prior to Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Dating violence is an issue that plagues people across the world, and UMBC is no different. On March 24, a case of dating violence occurred when a UMBC student was assaulted by a non-student.

According to Deputy Chief of Police Paul Dillon, a male non-student allegedly assaulted a female student who he was previously in a relationship with on Walker Avenue. The female student sustained a very minor injury and required no medical treatment, but her phone and eyeglasses damaged by the perpetrator, which were both valued at about $1,000 each. He was later arrested by the UMBC Police and charged with one count of second degree assault and two counts of malicious destruction of property.

Dating violence is not a new issue, and for many UMBC students and staff, it is personal. On-campus organizations like Green Dot and the Women’s Center have been hard at work to combat issues like dating violence and provide resources to help victims of these issues.

According to the World Health Organization, about 30 percent of women worldwide who have been in a relationship report that “they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime.”

For women in college, statistics are much worse. In a poll carried out by Break the Cycle, an organization that targets abuse in relationships, found that 43 percent of dating college women reported “experiencing some violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, tech, verbal or controlling abuse” and 22 percent of college women report physical/sexual abuse or threats of physical violence.

In order to prevent more incidents of dating violence and educate UMBC students on the issue, the Women’s Center is planning UMBC’s Take Back the Night 2018 on Thursday, April 12. In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the event plans to take back the night from abusers through a variety of events and activities for attendees that includes speakers (including those who were victims of dating violence and abuse), a campus march against sexual violence and a community resource fair with opportunities for students to express their support for the cause through different craft activities.

For concerned or threatened students, a variety of resources are available on campus. The Women’s Center is open 24/7 and the University Health Services offers a Peer Health Advocate program where “students work together with associated UHS staff to provide educational programming to residence halls, classes, sports teams and Greek organizations on a variety of issues relating to sexual violence including Consensual Sex, Dating Violence, Gender Stereotypes, and Risk Reduction of Sexual Assault, along with other health issues.”

For the non-student who was arrested, the future does not look as hopeful. According to Maryland State Law, if the non-student is convicted of second degree assault, he could face imprisonment for 10 years and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500. Maryland Law defines second degree assault as “any impairment of physical condition, excluding minor injuries.”

For the two malicious destruction of property charges, the non-student could be imprisoned for up to three years and/or be fined up to $2,500. The non-student could face up to 16 years in prison and $7,500 in fines.