Content warning: this editorial discusses general mentions of  domestic violence and sexual assault.

This October marks the 40th year of observing national Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Justice Editorial Board would like to recognize the importance of this issue by discussing recent abuse and sexual violence incidents on other college campuses, highlighting the work and support systems of on-campus organizations and providing a list of resources for Brandeis community members who have or are experiencing domestic violence or abuse of any kind. 

In the U.S., one in three women and one in four men on average will experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner. Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are one of the demographics most likely to experience intimate partner violence, per the National Domestic Violence Hotline. These statistics reveal the prevalence — especially for college-age women — of domestic violence. This board also recognizes that people who have experienced domestic violence are more than just a number: you and your stories go beyond any statistic. 

Over the past month at various colleges in the U.S., students have been protesting the pervasiveness of sexual assault and abuse on campus. Specifically, recent events at the University of Delaware — where a student was indicted for kidnapping and strangling a female student — and the University of Massachusetts Amherst — whose Theta Chi fraternity is facing allegations of sexual assault — have urged students to protest at both universities. At on-campus demonstrations at both schools, students responded to the culture of tolerance around domestic abuse and sexual violence, which has been perpetuated by organizations like college fraternities who are not holding members accountable, some protesters claimed.

In response to these incidents happening at other universities, this board encourages all Brandeis community members to consider how we can improve our understanding, compassion and support for people who have experienced domestic or interpersonal violence. Domestic violence awareness and prevention must go beyond a month of observance. At the individual level, we all must take more concrete steps toward being advocates for those who have experienced and continue to experience abuse. Of course, this board recognizes that this editorial is only a starting point on the path of more awareness, understanding and prevention of such experiences. 

Also, this board wants to acknowledge the groups on campus who are dedicated to this work, such as the Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center. PARC is a great resource not only for individuals seeking advice or support, but also for students or clubs who want peer-led violence prevention education. In an email to the Justice, PARC affirmed the importance of individual awareness and action, saying, “We all have a role to play in modeling healthy relationships, which includes honoring boundaries, communicating openly and effectively, and treating all individuals with dignity and respect. Cumulatively, the more we actively embody these practices (in whatever relationships we have), the less normalized and prevalent domestic violence becomes.” 

Similarly, Student Sexuality Information Services — another valuable on-campus resource for relationship and sex advice — told the Justice that “communication is key” for having a safe and healthy relationship. “At SSIS, we like to say communication is best when it’s open, honest, early, and often,” they explained.

Recognizing and intervening in an abusive relationship, however, can be complicated. Abusive relationships take many forms, and every situation presents its own unique set of problems and possible solutions. Indeed, cycles of violence in abusive relationships are complex, and it is important to recognize that in most volatile relationships, there are periods of relative peace and apology-making, followed by a period of tension and violence. This fluctuation can make it difficult for people experiencing abuse to respond to concerns from others, since for periods of time the abuser seems apologetic and ready to change.

If you notice any signs of emotional, physical or sexual abuse in a friend’s relationship, it is vital to address these concerns and seek help, support and resources for those involved, despite the complexity of abusive relationships. Some common signs of intimate partner abusive behavior include: isolating their partner from friends and family, controlling finances, intimidating or threatening their partner verbally or with weapons and/or pressuring their partner to perform sexual acts they are not comfortable with. 

Specifically, PARC shared some advice on addressing abuse as a bystander: “there are many valid and common reasons why individuals do not leave relationships with domestic violence or access resources, including care for their partner and fear for their safety. There is no universally ‘right’ course of action. Friends and family can best support individuals experiencing domestic violence by believing their experiences, centering their decisions, and supporting whatever they decide.” 

Below is a list of resources both within Brandeis and at the local and national level for anyone who needs help for themselves or for someone they know who has experienced emotional or physical abuse, relationship problems or domestic violence.

Prevention, Advocacy, and Resource Center:

A trained advocate is always available via the 24/7 counseling and rape crisis hotline: 781-736-3370. PARC Peer Advocates offer confidential advocacy to those impacted by many forms of violence, including domestic violence, and those supporting them, and are available Monday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m., any day class is in session via chat or text, in-person appointment or hotline. For non-emergency questions, presentation requests or appointment scheduling, you can email

Office of Equal Opportunity:

Students can pursue a Title IX process through the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Dean of Students Office:

Students can request No Contact Orders by emailing the DOSO at or by phone, 781-736-3600. 

Student Sexuality Information Services:

SSIS is a student-run organization that promotes sexual health through peer counseling, outreach, products, referrals and a resource library. Students can get SipChips from SSIS, which test drinks for the presence of date-rape drugs. Their office is located on the third floor of the SCC, room 328.

Students Talking About Relationships:

STAR is a completely student-run and -led support group that is trained in topics such as LGBTQIA+, sexual assault, food sensitivities, stress, as well as relationships and domestic violence. STAR offers in-person, confidential, one-on-one support in their office in the SCC, room 324, and has an anonymous and confidential text line offered during most nights of the week (see Brandeis 6TALK).

Brandeis 6TALK:

Brandeis 6TALK is an anonymous peer hotline run by dedicated peer listeners. You can reach them at 781-736-TALK (781-736-8255) from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday through Wednesday nights.

National Domestic Violence Hotline:

The Hotline provides 24/7 support via their hotline (1-800-799-7233) and resources for prevention, crisis intervention and safety planning. 


REACH provides emergency shelter, education and prevention programming and a 24/7 confidential hotline.

Brandeis Department of Public Safety:

In case of emergency, students may choose to contact Public Safety at 781-736-3333.