Nearly half of college women in intimate relationships report experiencing violent and abusive behaviors from their partners, according to information compiled by the National Domestic Violence Hotline. In fact, college and high-school age women and girls are almost three times more likely than other age groups and genders to experience violence at the hands of a current or former partner, including physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, statistics show. However, anyone can be a victim of relationship abuse, including men and those in LGBTQ relationships. About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced sexual or physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people experience interpartner violence for the first time before age 25.

Yet, even when they report violence to authorities or school officials, many California students who are victims of violence don’t get the support or resources they need to continue their educations. Brenda Adams, a senior staff attorney with the San Francisco-based gender justice organization Equal Rights Advocates, says her office regularly hears from students—particularly students of color and those at community colleges—who complain that schools didn’t take their cases seriously or provide adequate support.

“There’s just a fundamental lack of understanding” among school officials, Adams says. “[It] results in a poor response that harms these victims even further, pushes them out of school, actively silences them, and ultimately denies them their rights to equal access to education.”

Relationship violence threatens not only students’ physical safety and emotional well-being, but also their academic prospects. Students who experience abuse may be so distraught or distracted that they struggle to complete assignments, sit through exams and attend classes, survivors and experts says. Some may decide to delay their studies or even drop out of school, upending their career dreams and chances for economic success. Many also face financial consequences because sinking grades or dropped classes can lead to the loss of scholarships or financial aid, or forfeited tuition payments, advocates says.

Read the full article about domestic violence by Claudia Boyd-Barrett at YES! Magazine.