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UVA Hosts Forum on Gender Violence

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The University of Virginia is trying to break the barriers of a tough subject.

Thursday night, people at UVA got together to have an open conversation about gender violence. Conversations about sexual assault and dating violence can be tough and uncomfortable to have, but those topics were tackled and now the focus is on how to stop it.

Not everyone may agree on what gender violence is; people all have their own definition of the fairly broad term.

"Gender violence is any violence; man against woman, woman against man or in same-sex couple that happens particularly after a sexually romantic encounter," said UVA student Katherine Ryan.

Professor Hillary Barry said, "Violence against either man or woman, someone of either gender from violence of either gender."

But they can agree that something needs to be done about it.

"Far too many of our sons and daughters experience some form of violence as part of getting their college degree," said speaker Dorothy Edwards, executive director of Green Dot, etc., an organization to reduce violence.

Dozens gathered Thursday to hear experts speak on the topic. They talked about sexual assault and how common dating violence is between people of all sexual orientations. Students say it's an extremely important conversation to have.

"It's still an issue on our campus particularly and on a national level today and I think it's something that people aren't as comfortable talking about, so it's really important to have these dialogue events to have the conversation moving," Ryan said.

The university is trying to shift its culture and have everyone help solve the problem.

"The only way we are going to end or realistically reduce gender violence is if everyone or at least most of us each do their piece," Edwards said.

For more information on gender violence, click here.

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