Violence Prevention Project
Domestic Violence/ Dating Violence
What is Domestic Violence/Intimate PartnerDating Violence Abuse?
Relationship abuse involves the use of intimidation and/or force by one person in a relationship over the other. It can include any form of verbal, emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse or violence, and occurs in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. In an abusive relationship it is not unusual for the abuser to express remorse after a violent outburst and then ask forgiveness, promising that "it will never happen again." Unfortunately, it usually does.
What Can I Do to Help?
Remember, you can't "fix" the situation for your friend. But here are some things you can do that are helpful for both of you:
- Ask. Have you noticed bruises on your friend's body? Does your friend seem sad, distracted, or depressed? Does your friend seem to miss a lot of school or work? Have your friend's sleep or eating habits changed? Does your friend have low self-esteem? These may be signs of relationship abuse or violence. Usually, fear keeps victims from leaving relationships, and shame may prevent disclosure to someone else about what is happening. For these reasons it's okay and important to ask your friend if she or he is being abused.
- Listen and believe. Let your friend talk; don't be judgmental, interrupt, or give advice. Just sitting and listening can provide the reassurance that you care and are there for your friend. Be patient; sharing about an abusive relationship can be difficult and scary.
- Offer to help find appropriate resources. Ask your friend in what ways you can help. For example, your friend may ask for your help in contacting the police, or ask you to accompany him/her on the first visit to the VPP office or to meet with a counselor. Be clear about setting limits about what you can and can't do. Setting limits supports your friend and empowers both of you.
- Find some outside support for yourself while you help. Helping a friend in crisis can be difficult. It's normal for you to have strong emotional reactions to the situation too. The VPP Office is a good place to go for more information and help for both of you.
Our office is located in the Nigh University Center, Room 402. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. If this is an urgent situation or you need more immediate assistance, please call 911 or the UCO Police at 405-974-2345 or contact one of our community resources.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have and assist you in any way that is comfortable to you. We maintain a high level of confidentiality!
ALL SERVICES ARE FREE!
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