Ask the Professor: Part 1


Those of you who attended our Annual Meeting in June had the pleasure of hearing from several distinguished panelists, including Professor Karin Raye from Lasell College, who teaches Domestic Violence Advocacy, Children and Violence, Juvenile Justice, Victimology and other courses in the Criminal Justice Department as well as a First Year seminar on Activism.  Karin received her BA in History and African American Studies from Colgate University in 1990 and her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University Law School in 1998.  She was a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Northeastern University Law School’s Domestic Violence Institute (DVI) where she taught and supervised more than 35 interdisciplinary graduate students in the Boston Medical Center Domestic Violence Project.  She also supervised the Domestic Violence Clinic in Dorchester District Court.  Karin was instrumental in starting the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. In 2010, Karin was recognized as an Unsung Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women for this work.

This week, in the first of a two-part series, we pose questions about domestic violence to Professor Raye for her expert opinion.

Why is it important to have a course taught at the college level about dating and domestic violence?

I get asked this question often and frankly, my answer changes every time I respond depending on who asks and how they ask.

I’ll give you a sampling of my responses:

I teach domestic violence at the college level because women ages 16 – 24 are the most vulnerable population to physical and sexual abuse. Teens and young adults most often seek advice from their peers. If I can educate their peers, they are more likely to recognize the signs of abusive relationships, more likely to be informed about proper resources, more likely to help and hopefully, fewer college students will die or be hurt by their partner.

I teach a class in domestic violence advocacy at the college level because domestic violence is a worldwide public health epidemic. It impacts everyone around us and every profession. I want future teachers, psychologists, lawyers, doctors, athletic trainers, fashion designers, business people, and police officers to truly understand why domestic violence happens and how we can help support survivors. I am educating our future leaders and I want domestic violence to be firmly on their radar.

I teach a class on dv because putting in the curriculum and not as an extra-curricular volunteer activity makes it undeniable, important and a legitimate academic topic that warrants attention.

I teach domestic violence at the college level because this type of education is better late than never. I teach it now because my student survivors – men and women – want to understand why it happened to them.

Often, my students say that no one ever discussed it before college and they didn’t even realize how abusive their relationship was. They want to personally understand that it wasn’t their fault, why their parent didn’t leave their abuser, why their abuser hurt them.

I teach domestic violence at the college level because I have big plans to change the world, student by student. I love it when students – men and women alike – have the aha moment when they truly understand why a survivor doesn’t leave, how survivor services must be holistic, trauma informed and survivor centered, how men can be survivors as well, how the LBGTQ community shares the same level of violence as straight couples. When I have male lacrosse players who bubble over with enthusiasm as they return from an 8:00 am class waking their still sleeping and hungover roommates with animated stories of the activity they did in domestic violence class, I am inspired.

I am inspired when I see students become passionate about how they can work as a community to stop violence in all its forms. I love helping students become activists about an issue that I have spent entire professional life thinking about.

Karin and Jess

Professor Raye with REACH’s Director of Prevention Programs Jessica Teperow