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Relationship Abuse

Safety Alert

Computer use can be monitored and it is impossible to completely clear all website footprints. If you are in danger, please use a safer computer that your abuser can not access directly or remotely, or contact the Sexual Violence Education and Support area of the Student Wellness Center (614-292-4527) and ask for an advocate. Or call the 24 Hour Helpline (614-267-7020), Ohio Domestic Violence Network (800-934-9840).

What is relationship abuse or relationship violence?

It is a pattern of behavior by one partner designed to establish power or control over the other partner. It can take the form of physical, verbal, emotional or psychological abuse. It usually follows a sequence of isolation (e.g., jealousy, possessiveness, complaining about the time spent with friends or family), hyper-control (e.g., emotional, financial, appearance, time spent, making demands that seem unrealistic), undermining your self-efficacy or ridiculing you (e.g., insulting you, telling you "you're crazy", making you feel inferior), and finally, manipulating and blaming you for all of the above (e.g., "we wouldn't have these problems if you weren't so _____"). Most people think of physical violence as the only type of relationship abuse. But in fact, more than 30 years of relationship violence research has indicated that the verbal and emotional abuse has as much or more negative impact on survivors of violence than physical abuse.

What is verbal abuse?

  • Accusations of cheating
  • Calling you names (i.e. whore, slut, bastard, etc.)
  • Leaving nasty messages on voicemail
  • Harassing text messages
  • Giving you the"silent treatment" as punishment
  • Making insulting and critical comments about you (e.g., "you're so dumb", "you're fat", etc.)
  • Yelling or screaming at you
  • Being sarcastic
  • Threats to use violence against you
  • Threats to children or pets

What is emotional or psychological abuse?

  • Isolating another from family & friends
  • Being irresponsible with money
  • Controlling access to money
  • Withholding sex
  • Criticizing a partner's looks
  • Unwanted sexual demands
  • Making fun of partner
  • Keeping partner up all night
  • Manipulating
  • Blaming the other partner for all relationship problems
  • Threatening breakup, divorce or separation
  • Having affairs
  • Constant questioning about activities
  • Using alcohol and/or drugs
  • Accusations of affairs
  • Not working
  • Keeping partner from working

What is physical abuse or violence?

  • Pushing, shoving, grabbing or pulling
  • Biting, pinching, kicking or kneeing
  • Burning, choking, slapping or spitting
  • Spanking or Restraining
  • Kicking or throwing objects
  • Forcibly carrying or backhanding
  • Pinning against wall or punching with a fist
  • Pushing out of car or keeping someone restrained in a car
  • Abuse, or threatened abuse, of children or pets
  • Forced sex or unwanted touching
  • Driving recklessly while you are in the car
  • Twisting arms or tearing clothes
  • Standing or sitting on you
  • Punching walls, doors, etc.
  • Hair pulling
  • Slamming doors or drawers
  • Breaking things
  • Throwing out or destroying your belongings

**If you identified with more than 3 of the above items, you need to re-consider your safety in the relationship.

More characteristics of abusive partners

Who can I talk to about this?

To get information about your options and support with taking needed steps, contact the Sexual Violence Education and Support area of the Student Wellness Center (614-292-4527) and ask for an advocate or call the 24 hour helpline (614.267.7020 or 800.934.9840), Ohio Domestic Violence Network. An advocate will return your call and speak with you over the phone or arrange to meet in person. You can also call the Counseling & Consultation Service during business hours and ask to speak with the counselor on call.

What can you do to get out?

If you are ever in immediate danger, call 911.

The following information can help you plan ahead so you are prepared if a violent situation occurs:

Pack an overnight bag in case you have to leave your dorm room, house, or apartment suddenly. Keep the bag close to the door in an inconspicuous place where you can easily reach it before you leave.

Items to take with you:

  • Change of clothes
  • Hairbrush, toothbrush and other toiletries
  • Extra copy of car keys, apartment or dorm room keys, keys to mailbox, and other important keys
  • Forms of identification:
    • Driver's license
    • Student ID
    • Passport
    • Legal documents such as social security card, birth or marriage certificate, or a copy of your protective order if you have one.
  • Extra cash & credit cards
  • Cell phone & extra charger
  • Telephone numbers of family & friends
  • Medications

More information on resources at the Student Wellness Center

Advice on staying safe

Good Books to Read

  • Bancroft, L. Why does he do that?
  • Evans, P. The Verbally Abusive Man: Can he change?