As February gets into full swing, the Amarillo College Police Department has started its annual Dating Violence Awareness campaign.
The campaign aims all its attention at warning students of the signs of dating violence in relationships and tries to make people more aware of what is happening in the world today.
Students cannot always identify the signs of dating violence, but with the rise of social media, warning signs are beginning to become more noticeable to those on the outside of a relationship. It’s not always physical violence.
“It’s emotional, too, and both cause a lot of harm,” said Cpl. Scott Acker, AC criminal investigator and crime prevention officer.
The campaign includes small brochures with information about dating violence that Acker and his staff will pass out on campus. The card explains the warning signs and who to contact if anything seems out of the ordinary.
“I’ve been doing this for 10-plus years; I was with the Amarillo Police Department for nine years,” Acker said. “The signs are there. I did a lot of families and dating violence cases, and it always starts small, but it will escalate as time goes by. I hope people will be more educated with what is going on.”
The masses are rapidly learning about dating violence around schools and in other areas of life, and many said they are offering to help their peers who want to get out of a potentially dangerous situation.
“It was a very violent relationship. My friend always knew she was in a bad relationship but didn’t know how to get out of it,” said Cristina Sandoval, a legal studies major. “Finally, with the help of outside sources, she saw the signs and was able to get away.”
Others said they wouldn’t tolerate violence from their partners.
“If I was in the situation where the signs are there and my boyfriend would do something violent, I would leave at all cost,” said Jayna Ray, a former AC student and a Moore County Campus employee. “I would get out and not look back. It would be hard, but I could not take such violent behavior and still stay.”
Dating violence can happen to women or men. Help is available for both.
“I experienced this when a guy friend was being mistreated by his girlfriend,” said Alexis Calderon, an engineering major. “I had to fix this, so I talked to my friend and told him, ‘I know it’s hard, but you cannot stay in this position.’”
Students who need help or would like to ask more questions can call Acker at 806-371-5160 or call ACPD at 806-371-5163. For emergencies, call 806-371-9511.