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Warning Signs and Understanding Relationship Violence in College

By HERWriter
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Some people jokingly (or sometimes seriously) say that college is the place where women find their husbands, but more accurately it’s the place where at least short-term romantic relationships are formed.

These relationships can be healthy, but others, where violence takes place, are the focus of many college campaigns and programs.

The American College Health Association – National College Health Assessment fall 2009 data showed that 11.2 percent of women college students in the last 12 months reported experiencing “an emotionally abusive intimate relationship,” 2.3 percent (the same for men and women) reported a “physically abusive intimate relationship,” and 2 percent of women reported a “sexually abusive intimate relationship.”

Davian Gagne, a gender violence prevention and education coordinator at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said relationship violence is emotional, psychological and physical abuse that occurs between anyone from any type of demographic.

She said the most common forms of violence are threats, coercion and intimidation, before it gets to a physical level.

“A lot of times, maybe the other partner in the relationship may not realize that this is potentially harmful,” Gagne said.

There are several warning signs to look out for in potential violent relationships:

1) Your partner is texting, e-mailing, calling or Facebooking you 40 to 50 times a day, even if it is flattering.
2) Your partner shows up in places unexpectedly. For example, he shows up at your class in order to check on you, even if he isn’t going to your college.
3) Your partner is trying to isolate you from friends and family.
4) Your partner is trying to dictate what you wear or how you look (hair, makeup, etc.)
5) Your partner gives you constant criticism, including belittling.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) said the main behavioral signs are: intimidation, threats, isolation and emotional abuse.

Columbia University listed these warning signs: extreme jealousy and possessiveness, controlling attitude, mood swings, forced sex and dominating.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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