By Taylor Mitchell |

Did you know that 43 percent of college women report experiencing violence and abusive dating behavior?

More than half of college students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse. Fifty-seven percent of college students saying it is difficult to identify and 58 percent saying they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it. In honor of October’s domestic violence awareness month, read how you can recognize signs of dating violence and get help.

Warning Signs

  • Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  • Constantly putting you down
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Isolating you from family or friends
  • Physically hurting you in any way
  • Telling you what to do
  • Pressuring or forcing you to have sex
  • Possessiveness

Different Types of Dating Abuse

Physical – Any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body.

Examples:

  • Scratching
  • Punching
  • Strangling
  • Pulling or pushing
  • Smacking your bottom without consent or permission
  • Face grabbing
  • Any other unwanted physical act

Emotional/Verbal Abuse – Any speech and/or behavior that’s derogating, controlling, punishing, or manipulative

Examples:

  • Threats
  • Insults
  • Constant monitoring or “checking in”
  • Excessive texting
  • Humiliation
  • Isolation
  • Stalking

Sexual Abuse – Any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they do not want to do

Examples:

  • Unwanted kissing or touching
  • Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control

Financial Abuse – Control over money

Examples:

  • Telling you what you can and cannot buy
  • Giving you an allowance
  • Preventing you from going to work
  • Hiding or stealing your student financial aid check or outside financial support

Digital Abuse – The use of technology to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner.

Example:

  • Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on social media
  • Uses social media to keep tabs on you
  • Sends you negative, insulting, or even threatening messages
  • Tags you in unkindly in pictures
  • Pressures you to send explicit video or sexts
  • Steals or insists on being given your passwords

Stalking – When a person repeatedly watches, follows or harasses you, making you feel afraid or unsafe.

Example:

  • Showing up at your home or place of work uninvited
  • Sending unwanted messages
  • Constantly calling you and hanging up
  • Leaving unwanted items, gifts, or flowers
  • Waiting at places you hang out
  • Damaging your property.

What to Do

Helping Yourself

  • Keep any evidence of abuse, such as pictures of injuries, texts, post, emails, etc.
  • Keep a journal of all violent incidents, noting dates, events, and the threats made
  • Know where you can go to get help and your local shelter
  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Set money aside or ask someone you trust to hold money for you
  • Look into getting a restraining order
  • Identify and work towards achievable goals
  • Create a peaceful space for yourself
  • Remind yourself of your great values
  • Surround yourself with supportive people

Helping a Friend

  • Keep yourself safe first
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to them, explaining why you are concerned about their safety and want to help
  • Be supportive, listen patiently and respect their decisions
  • Let them know you believe them
  • Help your friend recognize that abuse is not “normal” and it’s not their fault
  • Focus on them and not the abusive partner
  • Help develop a safety plan
  • Be there for your friend after they break up and continue to support them
  • Understand you can only do so much
  • Understand that your friend must want help

Resources

Baylor Title IX

Baylor University

Clifton Robinson Tower Suite 285

Waco, Texas 76798-7011

254-710-8454

Love Is Respect

Loveisrespect.org

1-866-331-9474 – 24/7 Hotline

Text “loveis” to 22522 – Text service

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

thehotline.org

1-800-799-7233 – 24/7 Hotline

RAINN

rainn.org

1-800-656-4673 – 24/7 National sexual assault hotline

Women’s Law

Womenslaw.org