Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is the physical or emotional abuse used by one person in a relationship to control the other.  Partners may be married or not married, heterosexual, gay, or lesbian, living together, separated, or dating.

Such abuse includes, but is not limited to, name-calling or putdowns, keeping a partner from contacting their friends or family, withholding money, stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job, actual or threatened physical harm, sexual assault, stalking, and/or intimidation.


  • In 1 of 5 college dating relationships, one of the partners is being abused (3C. Sellers and M. Bromley (1996).
  • 32% of college students report dating violence by a previous partner, and 21% report violence by a current partner (C. Sellers and M. Bromley (1996).
  • Forty-two percent of women in one study said they had been victims of sexual coercion while dating in college. Of those women, 70 percent did not seek help (American College Health Association, 1997).

If You Are in an Abusive Relationship:

Take the abuse seriously and trust your feelings. It is not your fault if you are being abused. See your partner’s behavior for what it is. If you have been physically assaulted, threatened, stalked, or subjected to emotional abuse, you have experienced relationship violence.

Plan for your safety. Your personal safety is extremely important. Staff from the STOP Violence Program or the SAFE Project can assist you in planning for your safety whether or not you are ready to leave your relationship.

Seek medical attention. Many times you may be injured without realizing it. Go to the Student Health Services or your private physician and tell the doctor exactly what happened. Your doctor can check to make sure you do not have internal injuries as a result of the violence. If you have been sexually assaulted and it is within 72 hours of the incident, go to a local emergency room for the most appropriate care.

See a counselor or go to a support group. You are not alone. Talking with a counselor and/or others who have had similar experiences can help you seek understanding during this confusing and difficult time. You can receive free, confidential counseling at the University Counseling Center (307-766-2187).

Talk to a supportive friend. Talk to someone you trust. Many times it is easier to understand and work through your feelings when you are able to talk about them.

Know where you can go for help. The STOP Violence Program provides free and confidential information, support, and referrals and can be accessed by calling 307-766-3434. The SAFE Project is an off-campus nonprofit organization that provides a 24-hour hotline (1-800-230-3556).

Obtain a restraining order. If you feel threatened by an intimate partner, you can obtain a restraining order.  The STOP Violence Program Coordinator can provide you with information about this process.

Do things for yourself that make you feel stronger. You do not deserve to be abused. It takes tremendous strength and courage to leave a violent relationship. Know that although you are going through a difficult process now, you have the power to change your situation.

(Adapted from Georgetown University,

Help a Friend:

If you have a friend who you suspect is in an abusive relationship, here are some tips for helping them through this trauma.

Communicate your concerns.  Your friend may not recognize that they are being abused or they are not ready to talk about it.  Express your concerns by telling your friend that you are worried and that you are there to be supportive.  Tell your friend you are worried about their safety.

Be accepting.  Don’t become upset if your friend is not ready to break of the relationship.  Your friend is going through an emotionally difficult time.  Hold back from telling your friend they are wrong for staying in or returning to an abusive relationship.  Help your friend see that they are not to blame for the violence and that changing behavior won’t stop the abuse.

Work on a safety plan.  Help your friend think of ways to be safe.  Look at patterns in the abuser’s behavior to determine when he/she is explosive or violent.  Help your friend decide how, where, and when to go if they had to leave quickly.  Offer to walk or ride with them to school or work, or invite them to stay at your house.  You can also find local resources that can offer support.

Be there and stay there.  You may feel like your friend isn’t listening if they keep returning to the abusive relationship.  But you need to keep supporting your friend.  By avoiding blame, they will know that you are there for them.  It takes a long time to get over any relationship, even one that is violent.

Reach out for help.
Call area resources, like the STOP Violence Program or the SAFE Project, for ideas about how to help your friend. Crisis lines are available 24 hours per day and you do not need to give your name.

Continue to educate yourself about domestic/dating violence.  The more you know about domestic and dating violence, the better you’ll be able to help your friend.

Take care of you.  If you are frightened or frustrated, get support for yourself. Remember, you cannot rescue or solve all of your friend’s problems.


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