Abusive Relationships

Abusive relationships and dating violence are a widespread problem on college campuses. 43% of college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behavior, and 52% report knowing a friend who experienced violent or abusive dating behaviors. An abusive relationship is a pattern of behaviors used to maintain power and control over a partner. It can be emotional, financial, sexual or physical. Often threats, isolation, and intimidation are used. Technology is another major method that abusers can use to abuse or harass their partner. This can include:

  • Monitoring their partner’s email communication
  • Sending repeated emails or texts
  • Using social networking sites to get information about their partner and to monitor their partner’s messages and friendships
  • Using GPS devices to monitor their partner’s location

Abuse can happen to anyone, regardless or gender, age, sexual orientation, race, or economic background. It’s important to know the warning signs:

  • Checking your cellphone or email without permission
  • Constantly putting you down
  • Extreme jealousy, insecurity, or possessiveness
  • Explosive temper or mood swings
  • Isolating you from family or friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Telling you what to do or pressuring you to have sex

People stay in abusive relationships for many different reasons. Some people experience conflicting emotions about abuse, including fear, embarrassment, and love. There may also be social or cultural pressures that influence people to stay in abusive relationships. Others may rely on their abusive partner for financial support or feel helpless in their situation.

There are things that you can do to help support a friend who is in an abusive relationship:

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend who you are worried about. Help your friend recognize that abuse is not normal and is not their fault
  • Be supportive and listen without judging
  • Physical safety is a big priority – tell your friend if you’re worried about their physical safety and help them develop a plan for what to do
  • Make sure your friend knows they are not alone
  • Help your friend locate resources

If you are worried about your own or a friend’s imminent safety, call Safety and Security (206-281-2911) or tell your Resident Life Coordinator. If you are struggling in an abusive relationship, know that you are not alone and that there are resources that can help. These resources may help you receive anonymous support, and if you feel safe doing so, make an appointment with the Student Counseling Center.

 

 

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