Domestic violence is an issue that affects people of all ages, classes, genders, race and regions. According to US Department of Justice, women aged 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence.
It could be you, me, a family member or even a celebrity. Regardless, we are not alone, and this growing problem on college campuses and in life calls for action of change--not for acceptance.
In 2009, the relationship between celebrities Chris Brown and Rihanna splashed across the pages of every tabloid when Brown was reported to have choked the pop star until she was unconscious. In addition, TMZ reported that after the incident, Rihanna was left with major "contusions on both sides of the singer’s face, a black eye, a split lip, bloody nose and bite marks on one of her arms and on several fingers."
Brown was arrested, and less than a month later, Rihanna was back with Brown vacationing in St. Barths.
In 2013, actress Emma Roberts was arrested for domestic violence when her and her "American Horror Story" boyfriend, Evan Peters, were overheard by their Montreal hotel room neighbors fighting. When the police arrived, Peters had a bloody nose and bite marks on him. TMZ reported that Peters did not press charges, and the couple was back together within a month. The two have been off and on ever since.
One in three U.S. adolescents is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and 43 percent of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors, including physical, sexual, tech, verbal and controlling abuse.
More than half of abusive relationships reconcile within three months of breaking up.
Rihanna said that she got back together with Brown because she "thought she could change him after the beating." According to Campus Safety Magazine, most people believe this, but honey, you can't. He or she is who he or she is, and an apology (or many apologies) won't change that.
I know, I know...you love him/her, but love is about partners promoting the best versions of one another, not physically and emotionally tearing them down. If you are scared for your own or his/her safety after a break up, report it to your campus security and they will guide you through the steps.
Here's the number one issue: people have accepted relationship abuse as normal. Those who commented on the TMZ reports of both Roberts and Brown (as well as Ray Rice, Ozzy Osborne and many other cases) often blamed the victims as "probably deserving it" and "whining over a little roughing up."
IT IS NOT NORMAL. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT ABUSE AS A DEFEAT. If your partner isn't treating you like the damn diamond that you are, you need to buff yourself off and find someone who will.
So, you may be thinking, "How do I know if I'm in an emotionally and/or physically abusive relationship?" Here are some warning signs from the Mayo Clinic:
- Humiliating or embarrassing you.
- Constant put-downs.
- Refusing to communicate.
- Ignoring or excluding you.
- Provocative behavior with others.
- Use of sarcasm and unpleasant tone of voice.
- Extreme moodiness.
- Saying “I love you but…”
- Saying things like “If you don’t _____, I will_____.”
- Domination and control.
- Withdrawal of affection.
- Guilt trips.
- Making everything your fault.
- Isolating you from friends and family.
- Using money to control you.
- Constant calling or texting when you are not with him/her.
- Reading your texts and monitoring your calls from outside the relationship.
- Threatening to commit suicide if you leave.
- Tells you that you are worthless, that no one loves you, that you should die, etc.
- Uses your past against you.
- Calls you names, insults you or puts you down
- Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school
- Prevents or discourages you from seeing family members or friends
- Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful
- Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
- Threatens you with violence or a weapon
- Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets
- Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
- Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it
Relationship abuse is never ever acceptable. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, break the cycle. Love is respect, and you are worth nothing but respect. No matter if it's a celebrity, a family member, or a friend, ask for help.
Contact your college campus security and/or the following toll-free hotlines for more information on relationship abuse and advice on exiting an abusive relationship:
LoveIsRespect.org National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Sexual Assault Hotline