This archived article was written by: Jan Thornton
Does your significant other use violence or threaten to hurt you or damage your property during an argument? Do they expect you to account for every minute of your time? Do they make you feel like everything is your fault?
If this sounds like a common experience for you then you may be at risk of or already a violent dating relationship. According to the Salt Lake Area Domestic Violence Coalition, dating violence is defined as “the use of physical violence, threats, emotional abuse, harassment or stalking to control a dating partner’s behavior and may include intimidation, terrorizing, rule-making, stalking, isolation, dominating behaviors, harassing and injurious behavior to control and manipulate the actions of their dating partner.”
The Dating Violence Resource Center cites the following statistics:
•Physical aggression occurs in one-in-three dating relationships.
•Young women, ages 16-24, experience the highest rates of relationship violence.
• Date rape accounts for almost 70 percent of the sexual assaults reported by adolescent and college age women.
What are some warning signs that you can look for that may signal a violent personality? The following list gives some common warning signs. Note that the more signs a person exhibits, the more likely they are to be violent in relationships.
•Exhibits controlling behavior
•Gets involved quickly the relationship
•Has unrealistic expectations i.e. “if you love me … ”
•Blames others for problems and emotions
•Isolates you from friends and family
•Shows cruelty to animals or children
•Says cruel or hurtful things
•Has a history of violent relationships
•Has rigid expectations about gender roles
•Often threatens violence
•Has low self-esteem
•Has extreme insecurity and inability to trust others
•Has a “need to control” relationships
•Has a “Jekyll and Hyde” type of personality
•Denies responsibility for their behavior, especially violence
If you find yourself in a violent or potentially violent relationship, you can contact the following resources:
•911 for immediate police assistance
•435-613-5326 to reach the counseling office on College of Eastern Utah’s campus
•1-800-897-LINK (24-hour Utah domestic violence line)
•1-800-799-SAFE (24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline)
•Trusted adults, friends and family members can also be great resources.
A few other safety tips that you might want to consider:
• Date in groups
• Date in public places
• Have a previously arranged code word with family and friends that alerts them that you may be in danger
•Use your instincts
Some tips for friends and family who want to help:
•Be supportive and non-judgmental so that victims don’t feel further isolated.
•Listen and believe them – remember that it is easy to take the side of an abuser because all they ask from others is to “see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” while victims need our support and assistance.
•Offer to help them contact resources and go with them if they request it.
•Call the police if you witness a friend or family member being abused.
•Remember sometimes we have to love our friends and family enough to risk letting them be mad at us for a little while.
Remember that CEU’s campus provides students with eight-free counseling sessions and these sessions are confidential. The counseling office is located in the old SAC building room 118.