Relationship Abuse Support

Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

  • Telling you that you can never do anything right
  • Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
  • Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs
  • Controlling every penny spent in the household
  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
  • Controlling who you see, where you go or what you do
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions
  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
  • Preventing you from working or attending school
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

Some Statistics about Relationship Abuse:

  • 57% of students who report having been in an abusive relationship indicate it occurred in college.
  • One in three women experience at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood.
  • According to the CDC, one in seven men over the age of 18 has been the victim of severe physical violence by a relationship partner in his lifetime.
  • Women ages 19-29 reported more violence by intimates than any other age group.
  • 23% of LGBTQ men and 50% of LGBTQ women report experiencing relationship abuse.
  • 58% of college students said they would not know how to help if they knew someone was a victim.

Positive Steps for Coping with an Abusive Relationship

  • Maintain outside relationships and avoid isolation. You need your support system.
  • Seek reality checks by talking to others if you suspect that your partner has been abusive.
  • Learn about resources available to people in abusive relationships.
  • Identify a safe place you can go to in an emergency if your partner becomes threatening or violent.
  • Read self-help books about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
  • Seek professional counseling or talk to someone you trust to help you sort through the issues that may be keeping you in an abusive relationship.
  • Begin to develop a support system, so that if you choose to leave the relationship, you will not be alone.
  • Rather than dwelling on blaming yourself for what you’ve done in the past, focus on how you want to live from this day forward and then take steps to make this happen.
  • Resist thoughts of self-blame, shame or ideas that prevent you from planning for your future and connecting with others.

Enabling

Partners of abusive people often engage in enabling behavior. In essence, enabling behavior consists of taking care of the abusive partner, making excuses for him or her and otherwise going along with the pattern of abuse.

Enabling behavior may include the following:

  • Denying that a problem exists or convincing oneself that in spite of all evidence to the contrary, things will get better.
  • Maintaining a front to the outside world that everything is fine.
  • Cleaning up after the abusive partner’s messes or outbursts, e.g., intervening for them at work, apologizing for starting the fight, fixing broken doors and windows, putting on make-up to cover the bruises.
  • Smoothing over or tiptoeing around conflict areas in order to stay out of harm’s way and to maintain a sense of peace.
  • Taking over everyday tasks that most adults do for themselves.

With time and support things can get better. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Counseling and Testing Center provides free and confidential counseling for students and has counselors who specialize in helping people recover from sexual assault. In addition, Student Victim Assistance offers confidential support and resources. The Counseling and Testing Center is available for walk-in appointments daily. Crisis counselors are also available to talk to after hours by phone at 404-413-1640.

Some other resources for relationship abuse support:

Love is Respect
RAINN
The Hotline
Love is respect: Is this abuse?
The Hotline: Men can be victims of abuse too
Circle of 6

Some of the information on this page was borrowed from the University of Oregon.