Everyone has the right to a relationship without abuse or violence.
It is not always easy to determine in the early stages of a relationship if one person will become abusive. Abuse is something that intensifies over time. Abusers may often seem wonderful and perfect initially, but gradually become more aggressive and controlling as the relationship continues. Abuse may begin with behaviors that may be easily dismissed or downplayed such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. Abusers may apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love or care. Some examples of abuse warning signs are listed below:
- Your partner is jealous and possessive towards you.
- Your partner tries to control you by being bossy and never considers your opinions.
- Your partner scares you, making you afraid of how they will react to things you do or say.
- Your partner has a quick temper and history of violence towards others.
- Your partner pressures you into doing things that you do not want to do, such as having sex or breaking the law.
- Your partner abuses illegal drugs and alcohol.
- Your partner blames you for their problems, including those they brought upon themselves.
- Your partner has a history of bad relationships.
- Your partner believes in rigid gender roles.
- Your family and friends have warned you about your partner or told you that they are worried for your safety.
Remember, in a healthy relationship, each person is entitled to:
- Have their needs be as important as their partner’s needs.
- Be free from blame or responsibility for their partner’s behavior or actions.
- Be able to voice their thoughts, feelings and opinions.
- Be free from emotional, sexual, financial and physical abuse at all times.
- Change their minds and not feel threatened.
- Spend time with their friends and family and not feel pressured by their partner’s jealousy.
- Live without fear and confusion from their partner’s anger.
- Be treated with respect and never called names.
- Negotiate conflict and make decisions about the relationship together.
If you feel you are in an abusive relationship:
- Take it seriously. If you are in immediate danger, call the police.
- Talk to someone about it, such as a friend, parent, clergy, or counselor. You are not alone.
- Create a safety plan (see below) – If you are a student, WWU’s CASAS (360.650.3700) can assist you with this.
- Call for help to assist you with restraining orders, safety planning, education, support, and other services you may need.
If you suspect someone is in an abusive relationship:
- Voice your concerns.
- Don’t force them to break up with their partner until they are ready to do so on their own terms.
- Let them know that they do not have to face the situation alone.
- Offer your support and guidance, and refer them to the appropriate resources. Educate yourself about abusive relationships.