Is it relationship abuse?

Sydney Shuler | Staff Writer

Women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, about three times the nation average in the U.S.

As young people, identifying signs of abuse in a relationship can be difficult. The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence, also referred to as dating or relationship abuse, as “a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another in an intimate relationship.”

These behaviors are not at all limited to physical abuse. Victims of relationship abuse often experience emotional and verbal abuse such as serial cheating, having their appearance controlled by their partner or being blamed for the way they are being treated.

In a relationship where the finances are shared between the two, someone may experience financial abuse that include receiving an allowance or living in the home while refusing to work or contribute to the household.

In the age of social media, digital abuse is seen in cases of domestic abuse as well. Digital abuse includes one partner keeping the other off social media, having control of usernames and passwords or posting negative or embarrassing things about their partner.

College relationships are hard enough with making time for one another between classes and work, and balancing dates to the cafeteria or library with dates out.

Forty-three percent of dating college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behavior during their time in school.

Dating abuse rears its ugly head in a number of ways. It’s critical to be aware of the warning signs before it’s too late. When you’re forced to question whether the one you care for is the one hurting you, thoughts and emotions can get cloudy. If you’re not sure if you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship, ask yourself:

Do they become jealous when you hang out with friends?

Do they get angry when you choose to take (much-needed) time alone?

Do they discourage you from seeing family or friends?

Do they pressure you to use drugs or alcohol?

Do they keep you from class to spend time with them?

Do they intimidate you with weapons or aggression?

Do they constantly put you down or tell you that nothing you do is right?

Do they pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to?

Fifty-seven percent of young people surveyed by LoveIsRespect.org admit that relationship abuse is difficult to identify, while 58 percent say they don’t know to help someone who is experiencing abuse.

A lack of knowledge of the signs of domestic abuse and the actions to take to avoid investing into an unhealthy relationship is part of the reason that only 33 percent of teens who were in violent relationships ever told anyone about it, according to LoveIsRespect.org.

Thirty-eight percent of college students say they don’t know how to get help for themselves on campus if they were a victim of dating abuse.

On Hampton’s campus, any report of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment should be reported to the Title IX Office, located in room 205 of the Wigwam Building.

After filing a report, the following steps will take place, according to HU’s website:

– Honor a student’s wishes NOT to move forward with an investigation, and close the case.

– Provide interim measures while an incident is being investigated.

– Conduct an investigation where both parties will present facts.

– Submit the report to the Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Committee for a hearing and adjudication of the matter.

The decision of the committee is final, and the parties receive written notification of the outcome of the hearing from the appropriate administrator.

The case is CLOSED!

An abusive relationship does not have to be a trap. Educate yourself on the early signs and continuously remind yourself of your worth. Don’t suffer in silence.

If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right, and it’s OK to leave.

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