Presentation will inform public on different aspects of violence

Molly Halferty

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and researchers in the department of human development and family studies are aiming to inform the public on the issue of violence in relationships.

Brenda Lohman, associate professor of human development and family studies, is the head of this research.

Lohman said dating violence among couples can be both physical and emotional. It is typically from men inflicting themselves upon women, but men can also be victims of violent relationships.

“Violence is a large spectrum,” Lohman said. “Abuse can range from calling names to someone trying to murder you. It is important to understand from a partner’s point of view what is considered violence or not.”

One of Lohman’s goals for this research is to “understand this for adolescence as well.”

“It is especially important for teens from violent homes to learn healthy relationship skills, knowing alternative ways to cope with anger,” Lohman said.

She believes this information is different than other research because it provides a perspective from each stage in life.

“This is from a lifespan perspective rather than just a ‘married issue’ or a ‘female adult issue,'” Lohman said.

Angelica Reina, graduate student in human development and family studies, will be presenting alongside Lohman. She will talk about the effects of exposure to violence on young adult women and discuss her research on “the relationship with witnessing violence and how it affects young women’s development and life, how it influences negative outcomes like mental health and relationships.”

“The fact that they remember a lot of violence when they were younger means that there is something wrong there,” Reina said. “Most of the research done in the past has been adult women who are victims, not much focused on children. There is no research on witnessing violence or different types of violence. It will have effects on the child.”

This presentation will show the effects of violence in dating relationships over a lifespan, not just one stage of a person’s life.

“[Violence] is a private problem and some people feel ashamed. They don’t want to talk about it. That is why you don’t learn about it,” Reina said. “Violence can affect your life at any age.”