By Elise O’Neill-Eckman
About 1 in 7 men ages 18 and older have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
Women between the ages of 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
Men account for about 24 percent of domestic violence survivors.
Every 9 seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Ironically, not many people are aware of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we really should change that. As college students, we are right in the target age group to where domestic and relationship violence begins to occur.
When you’re a college student, you are still figuring out relationships. It is very easy to completely miss red flag behaviors; especially if you are navigating your first romantic relationship. It is important to understand what domestic/relationship violence is, what the warning signs are, and how to receive help if you believe you are in an unhealthy situation.
According to the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness, “relationship abuse is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner. Abuse can be emotional, financial, sexual or physical and can include threats, isolation, and intimidation. Abuse tends to escalate over time.”
Some warning signs to look for include:
- Do you ever feel nervous around your partner?
- Are you scared of disagreeing with your partner?
- Does your partner criticize or make fun of you in front of other people?
- Does your partner ever make you feel wrong, stupid, ugly, or inadequate?
- Does your partner ever throw or break objects to intimidate you?
Often those who are being abused feel like it is their fault. It is not. People make their own choices. You are never responsible for your partner’s actions. If you believe you are in an unhealthy relationship and need help there are resources available. Don’t be ashamed of abuse. Everyone deserves happiness, healthiness, and love in their life.
For help in the Winchester area you can call The Laurel Center’s 24-Hour Hotline: 540-667-6466. Or visit The Not Just Women’s Center on campus.