Abusive relationships among college students on the rise

According to multiple studies in Cosmopolitan and Huffington Post, anywhere from 41-77 percent of college students have been in a mentally, emotionally or physically abusive relationship. There isn’t one set definition for emotional or physical abuse but many experts explain that it’s behavior that is used to manipulate, degrade, humiliate or punish another person, often their romantic partner.

It’s usually a hard choice to leave an abusive partner and an even harder choice to help a friend who is in an abusive relationship. There are some signs that could help you see if you or a friend is in a potentially abusive relationship even if your friend is acting happy with their significant other.

1. She/he wants you all the time.

This isn’t as simple as the “over attached girlfriend” popularized by a very hilarious meme. This is when your partner wants sex from you constantly, usually to use as control. This also applies if your significant other shows up when you’re out with friends, doesn’t stop calling or texting you or really doesn’t appreciate any personal boundaries.

2. They constantly start fights.

It’s no secret that there are fights in every relationship. No two people have the same views on any given issue 100 percent of the time. But this situation is a little different. The abusers will constantly start fights to prove their dominance and make the abused feel belittled and alone. Accompanying the fights are usually days of withdrawal from the abusers which has been proven to wreak havoc on your mind and emotions.

3. He/she starts taking over more responsibilities in your life.

I’m not talking about helping you do laundry or filling up your car with gas. In this situation the abuser starts taking over the life of the abused, making them more and more reliant on the abuser. This can be anything from checking your email/social media to managing your money and scheduling (supervised) times with your friends.

4. Jokes are always on you.

I like to think I’m a funny person. I love telling jokes and my partner does as well. The difference here is when your significant other teases you in a spiteful or hurtful way. When you say you’ve been hurt, he/she will say how you are just being sensitive or can’t take a joke. Research has shown that long-term psychological abuse can be more harmful than physical abuse.

There are many resources available to abused
victims including the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, the National Sexual Assault
hotline and many more community-based programs.