In one out of every five relationships in college one of the partners is experiencing abuse. This statistic is disturbing as I can easily think of five college-age couples without putting fourth much effort. So, if this problem is there, the best thing to do is meet it head on. This doesn’t mean scrutinizing every relationship for a pitfall, but I do believe that it means being aware of what a red flag is in a relationship is and recognizing that something should be done.
Dating abuse can be physical, or sexual, or emotional. Sometimes when we think about abuse in relationships it is easy to only think about the physical abuse, but emotional abuse in relationships is also very damaging. Being ignored, name called, and repeatedly put down are some real examples of emotional abuse that should be taken seriously just as being shoved or slapped should be.
Recognizing a red flag is one hurtle, but dealing with them is another. For people in a relationship, communication about these issues is important. If they cannot be fixed and the relationship cannot be a healthy one, then that reality needs to be recognized and dealt with. If there are safety issues with breaking up, take them seriously; stay with a friend, make sure the door is locked, or do whatever measure is needed to be safe. If it is a friend who is experiencing red flags, they may or may not be very receptive to advice against their partner even if the red flags seem obvious to outsiders. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t say something to them, but it also doesn’t mean that you should abandon them when they can’t seem to see the same things you do.
There is so much more about red flags in relationships that I haven’t mentioned here. Although I’ve focused on relationships between partners, the same abuse can occur in relationships with friends and family. I urge you to do some more research on what red flags are, and also what healthy relationships are like, to help get a better picture of what a good, healthy relationship is. One of the first steps is knowing that you deserve relationships that are healthy, and then demanding that kind of respect for yourself, while also showing that kind of respect to the people around you.
By Holly Jensen