What is Dating Violence?
If you’ve come across this article, the chances are that you or someone you know are going through relationship abuse. In most cases, the victim doesn’t realize that he/ she is in an abusive relationship until it’s also late. Before we even start talking about dating violence, it is very essential that we understand what dating violence actually means. So, dating violence is a complicated topic and if you were to define it in a single line, you could say that it’s a pattern of manipulative, aggressive, controlling or even assaultive behaviour of a person towards their partner.
How Prevalent is Dating Violence?
While victims of dating violence often seem to think that they are alone, the situation is entirely the opposite. While different surveys come up with different numbers every other year, I know at least five people going through dating abuse personally and everyone I know knows at least five more. The number of people who end up being victims of abuse is always unsure because most of them don’t feel comfortable giving the right information to people who conduct surveys. Whether you’re in high school or have a high-end job, I’m pretty sure you know someone also, so, what does that say about the prevalence of dating violence?
Are You a Victim?
Most of the times, those in abusive relationships don’t realize it, and that is why they don’t take the necessary action to get out of such relationships. If you’re still not sure if you’re having a regular rough patch or your partner is abusive, here mentioned below are a few signs that can tip you off.
1. Controlled communication
To be honest, it’s natural that your significant other might have a little problem with a few people in your life and that’s natural because you’ll have the same opinion also. However, things get bad when your partner decides who you’re going to be in contact with and who you’re going to leave. If your partner has access to all your social media accounts and adds and deletes people without your consent then that is wrong. Granted that there should be trust in a relationship, one should never cross sure boundaries. You’re a mature adult and no one should be telling you who you should or should not interact with.
2. Control over dressing choices
Whenever we get dressed, we do like to take our partner’s opinion, and that is a nice thing to do. However, one thing that you should keep in mind is that asking someone’s advice and getting it without asking is a whole different story. If you think that you’ve changed your dressing style just to please the person you’re with, it is a red flag that you should take into consideration. If a person loves you, they should accept you the way that you are and let you flourish and groom yourself on your own. I knew a girl who was a stunner; she looked great and dressed like a literal diva. However, once she got into a relationship, I started noticing that she started wearing loose and shabby clothes. It was later on that I caught her boyfriend, giving her a hard time near the benches which is when I decided to talk to her about the situation. It alsok hours and hours of counseling to get her to see how toxic this behavior is. Remember to always stay true to yourself, even if you are in a relationship.
3. Emotional Manipulation
Another tactic that abusers have is that they manipulate their partner. If you often find yourself doing things that you hate, and can’t seem to get out of it no matter what, the chances are that you’re being emotionally manipulated. Maybe they’ll cry, be angry or just start being indifferent to you in order to get what they want. Know that someone you love won’t put you through things that you clearly dislike, however a person who wants to exert their power over you will. Granted that everyone does do things that they don’t like out of love for their partner, it should always be your choice; it should not be a compulsion.
4. Control over eating choices
Here is a personal experience to make you guys relate more, a friend of mine started seeing this great looking guy in college. In the beginning, everything was fine, they seemed happy. However, one day when I was sitting in their group and talking about how I wanted to lose weight, suddenly the guy was like hey you don’t have to lose weight my girl here does. I’ve been telling her she’s getting ugly and fat day by day, but she doesn’t even listen to me. This went on and on for a couple of minutes, and I was absolutely shocked. My friend said sorry and ran away. Can you even imagine the humiliation and degradation that she might have felt? If you know someone who is going through such a situation counsel them and urge them to take action.
If your partner threatens to hit you or leave you that is the biggest sign you’ll ever get. A friend once said to me “a person who threatens to abuse you in any way, will, it’s only a matter of time.” So, before that happens, run. Remember that you have the power to walk out. Anyone who gets you to do something by threatening you with anything isn’t a person that you should be within your life.
What To Do If You Are Suffering From Dating Violence
1. Ask for help
Those suffering from abusive relationships often feel so ashamed that they don’t confide in anyone and if anyone does try to ask, they cover for their partner. If you’re someone who’s being abused or you know someone who is, know that it’s okay to ask for help and even if they’re not asking for it, give it regardless. People who suffer from abuse often try to stay by themselves and not indulge in real conversations about their situations because of shame. So, if you know someone going through it, try and recognizes the early signs and show them that they deserve better.
2. Take official action
Know that no one is above the law, absolutely no one. Get a restraining order and walk out of such a toxic relationship. If he/ she still pursues you, get the authorities involved and let them take care of it. To most people, official action seems to be the last resort; however, that should not be the case. Know that you don’t owe anyone anything if the person who is abusive doesn’t care about their behavior you should not be the one covering up for him/her.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
Once you take the necessary action, another thing that you should do is to surround yourself with the people that you love. Know that you are valued and that people around you care about you. People who are toxic often prey on those who alienate themselves as they make the abuser’s task easier. Know that if you have a support system, you won’t be seeing them again.
While talking to the people that you love is a great way to go, you often need assistance and support to take the first few steps. People who suffer from dating violence often don’t know who to contact as they don’t necessarily come under the domestic abuse umbrella. If you’re living with your partner, then any domestic abuse helpline can be of assistance, even if you’re not, it’s alright to use the same helplines. Here mentioned below are a few domestic abuse helplines you can contact.
The National Domestic Abuse Hotline
The Rio Retreat Center
In a nutshell, love is beautiful, and it is a necessary part of growth but if someone is using love to create problems your way, know that they’re toxic. Each and every one of you out there deserves to be cherished and loved, trust me there’s someone out there for all of you. Whether it’s a friend or a partner, the right person will help you reach your goals. So, believe in yourself and love yourself so that you can realize if someone isn’t treating you right.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé