Domestic battery cases are on the rise in Rexburg, and BYU-Idaho students are part of the problem.
“We are finding, and it’s obvious through our reports, that BYU-Idaho students are where the batteries occur,” said Capt. Randy Lewis, police chief of the Rexburg City Police Department.
Lewis said cases of domestic abuse or batter have been consistently happening in Rexburg. Every week, the police department responds to at least one or two cases, some of which involve BYU-Idaho students.
It is considered battery when an individual uses force, violence, unlawful touching, striking or intentionally causing bodily harm to an individual against their will, according to the State of Idaho Legislature Web page.
“Part of that is they’re getting married too young; they’re having children too young,” Lewis said. “They have all these burdens on them — paying back school loans, trying to feed the family and going to school — which creates such stress on them, they crack.”
There is no single factor that can be attributed to the cause of domestic abuse. Society’s attitudes, community responses, the individual psychology or the abusers desire for control or power can all contribute to the cause of domestic abuse, according to refuge.org.uk
Lewis said an arrest was made Wednesday, Jan. 27, of a student who hit his wife several times and damaged their apartment.
“It’s kind of surprising,” said Kylee Bywater, a junior studying elementary education. “At the same time, I think people here get married really fast so they don’t really find out that’s how one person deals with their anger before they get married.”
When any individual in a relationship is forced to change their behavior out of fear of their partner’s reaction, they are being abused, according to the Refuge Web page.
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When any member in a household commits domestic battery, as defined previously, and it causes serious or traumatic injury to the victim, they could be found guilty of felony, according to the State of Idaho Legislature Web page.
If convicted of such an offense, the perpetrator could face imprisonment in a state prison for up to 10 years, be fined up to $10,000 or both.
Nick Rammell, associate dean of students, said the Dean of Students Office is a safe place for students to come to deal with campus issues that may come from abuse cases.
“They may want to pull out of school, or they may have a safety concern, or it might be late in the semester and the wait list at the counseling center is really long,” Rammell said. “We can connect them with a counselor in the community. The university is trying to do better at spreading information and alerting students to resources on campus.”
Rammell said the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are clear. There is no tolerance for any form of domestic violence or abuse of any kind. BYU-I takes the same stance. When there are cases of violence or abuse, it is taken seriously. The university wants to serve the students as best it can.
Riley Bywater, the husband of Kylee Bywater and a freshman majoring in general studies, said when he and his wife have a disagreement, they never resort to violence. They follow the council given in “Strengthening Marriage” that the Church published. They will also go to other sides of the house until they have both cooled down.