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Dating doesn't have to be violent: Young adults report high rates of relationship abuse
Justine Agaloos
Antelope Staff
Infographic by Staff

“I don’t want you talking to any of those guys tonight at the party,” the boyfriend said. “Why not?” said the girl. “They are my friends. It’s not like they will do anything. I don’t like them like that.” 

“But I don’t want you to get too close to them,” he replied back. “I can’t see myself without you.

Does this situation remind you of any events that happened in your relationship? Does your boyfriend or girlfriend feel uncomfortable of your actions when you’re around your friends? Does he or she make all the decisions and act very possessive of you? Do they tend to put you down by making fun or embarrassing you?

Extreme jealousy, put downs and controlling actions are signs of abuse. Even though we would like to think about a relationship as a bed of roses, relationships are all about trust, communication and honesty. Many people forget that healthy relationships are about respect, fairness, shared responsibilities and healthy intimacy. 

Sixty-one percent of young adults interviewed said violence had happened to them on numerous occasions. Between 25 and 35 percent of young adults equate jealousy, possessiveness and violence with love. When the young adults were asked, they identified their home (71 percent), vehicles (29 percent) and/or school (53 percent) as places where the violence most often occurred.

Abuse is a lot more common than the general public realizes and watching for signs in a relationship is the first step to reducing the chances for someone to be mistreated. The signs of an abuser include having all the control and discounting feelings and views. They tend to make all the decisions and act very possessive. They can also demand sex after an argument to “make up” and blame the partner for their anger.

Trish Holen, graduate assistant of the Women’s Center, advocates against relationship abuse. Holen gives advice about noticing friends who are in these abusive relationships.

“If you notice a friend or family member is being abused, notice changes in their behavior— not calling home, missing classes, or cutting their friends off. These are signs of emotional, physical, sexual and verbal abuse,” Holen said.

The person being abused often cannot admit there is a problem in the relationship and tends to blame herself or himself. Mostly, the abused person believes the partner’s actions are signs of love and tends to make up excuses for the abuser’s behavior. If you know a friend or family member who might be in an abusive relationship, express your concern and listen. Educate yourself about emotional abuse and be honest about how you feel about your friend’s relationship. Try to stay in touch with your friend, abusers tend to isolate their partners and offer support for your friend’s safety.

“Let your friend know you care about them and their safety. I would also encourage them to take use of the services on campus,” advised Holen.

Services on campus include the Counseling Center at the Student Affairs Building and Women’s Center which has information such as books or brochures about healthy and abusive relationships. In town, the Kearney Safe Center offers secure, confidential services, programs and advocacy for individuals and families who have experienced sexual, domestic or dating violence.

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