This guide to the signs of relationship abuse and what a concerned person can do was reproduced with the explicit permission of Aime Hutton, Found or Inch By Inch Empowerment. Aime is a mentor for girls and young women and knows all too well the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse.
This guide is not meant to take the place of professional counseling or legal advice.
Table of Contents
- What women need to watch out for
- What a woman in this situation may be feeling
- What friends can do, and watch for in their friend who might be in an abusive situation
- Special message to men
What women need to watch out for
- Mood swings that flip on a dime, he’ll be sweet and caring one moment, then anger out of nowhere.
- Doesn’t want to hear about times you were not with him in High school for example
- Doesn’t like hearing you and your girlfriends getting excited about the latest heartthrob actor or singer
- Doesn’t like other men watching you do things when he is away from you.
- Irrational Thoughts
- He thinks you are dead in a ditch because he didn’t see you go to bed the night before, or leave the dorm the next morning.
- He thinks you are out with other male students.
- Wanting to know your schedule for your classes, where they are on campus, and what time, sometimes even the professor’s name
- Not wanting you to see your other friends (both male and female)
- Wanting to know who you are talking to on the phone (even if it’s a private phone call with your family back home)
What a woman in this situation may be feeling
- Like she’s walking on egg shells, not wanting to rock the boat of her boyfriend
- Able to put on the “mask” of everything is ok
- May not ‘see’ that she is an abusive relationship
- You like the time with your girl friends (away from him)
- You keep secrets from your family about your relationship
- Feelings of being tied down
- Feelings of not being able to make your own decisions
- You have knots in your stomach
- You have problems sleeping
- You have problems concentrating on your school work
- You keep secrets from your friends about your relationship
- You don’t want to go out with your boyfriend, in fear of creating a ‘scene’
- You wear long sleeves to cover bruises or lots of makeup on your face to cover the bruises
- You feel like you have to report to him all the time
- You feel like you need to ask permission to do anything
- You are nervous around him
- You withdraw from friends
- You don’t like it when you hear yelling from anyone
What friends can do, and watch for in their friend who might be in an abusive situation
- your friend to withdraw from social gatherings
- Or, watch for her to want to hang out with you and the girls a lot longer than other friends
- mood changes
- unexplained bruises
- an uneasiness, or jumpiness by her
- her to ask her boyfriend questions such as “Is okay for me to go and see my friends?”
- her to not eat as much as before
- her to complain that she’s not sleeping
- her to complain that her stomach is constantly upset
How YOU can help
- Be open to your friend to share what is going on with her
- Gently ask her if she’s okay
- Let her know that she’s safe talking to you
- Offer to take her/or go with her to anywhere she needs (doctors, counselor, Residence Manager)
- Believe her
- Be positive
- Thank her for trusting you
- Develop a ‘secret’ word that only you and she know about so she can call you if she needs help. And all she has to do is message you with the word and her location.
- Offer support and ideas on where to go off campus for support (like the YWCA for example), and go with her to these meetings
Special message to men
- This is a special message to men. It’s a message to them. Please take this to heart.
- Treating a woman with disrespect, being unkind, or being abusive towards your girl friend will get you no further in life.
- If you have an anger problem, it’s okay to ask for help. Do your best to not mix alcohol with being angry. This can lead to violent acts towards your girl friend.
- Maybe you saw things happen in your home such as your Dad belittling your Mum, or calling her names, maybe even hitting her. This is not the right way to interact with your girlfriend.
- Treating each other with kindness and respect will get you a lot further in your relationships.
- Join a men’s group to help support you. Become involved in campus life, sports, clubs. Release your energy in a positive way, not by taking it out on your girlfriend.
- Listen to your girlfriend when she’s upset, support her, and don’t smother her.
- You don’t have to know where she is every second of the day. She’s a grown woman just you are a grown man. She’s allowed to have the freedom. She can have time on her own, with her girl friends.
- If you see any of your guy friends treating their girlfriends poorly step in and be the man telling him straight up that he shouldn’t be treating his girlfriend in that way.
- Keep open in communication with your girl friend. Share what is bothering you with her. Come to a win/win solution for the both of you.
- Remember always that love shouldn’t hurt. Loving relationships are kind and respectful.
**Disclaimer** this checklist was written by Aime Hutton, who has experienced dating violence while living on a Canadian university campus, her checklist is coming from her own experience and memories.
Find below some resources for you on more information about dating violence, and websites to get help.
Wikipedia resource link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dating_abuse
RCMP resource link: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cycp-cpcj/dv-vf/index-eng.htm
Canadian Women’s Foundation article: http://www.canadianwomen.org/teen-dating-violence-epidemic
Phone numbers and links for women: http://www.datingabusestopshere.com/here-4-help/
Victim Link BC: http://www.victimlinkbc.ca/vlbc/help/dating_violence.page
YWCA Resource Link: http://ywcacanada.ca/en/resources
Violence UnSilenced Resource link (with phone numbers and other weblinks) http://violenceunsilenced.com/resources/
Canadian Center for Abuse Awareness: http://www.abusehurts.com
About Aime Hutton
Aime is an Empowerment Leader and 2 time International Best Selling Author. Aime has survived an abusive relationship and stalking. All while living on campus away from home studying full-time at a Canadian University. She shares openly and honestly her story to students. Giving students insights on what the warning signs are for an abusive relationship, the different kinds of abuse, and how to help themselves, or friends who are in abusive relationships.
Aime wishes that someone had come to her school to speak on this topic in her first ear. Then, maybe then she might not have gotten into the relationship in the first place. A relationship that had her walking on egg shells, and in fear for her life.
Aime now writes for the Canadian Center for Abuse Awareness, with her monthly column called “Youth Booth” for the eZine “Abuse Hurts”. Here she shares raw and sometimes blunt messages that teens and young adults need to hear. Topics include dating violence, stalking, bullying, and other empowering themes such as being brave, bold and being unique.
As of January 2013, Aime was appointed the Canadian Teen Ambassador for the Freedom & Empowerment Teen Campaign, and then in September 2013, she was also appointed the Full Canadian Ambassador for the same campaign. It’s a global campaign to help those who have been through domestic abuse/dating violence. Specifically, with the Teen Campaign, it’s all about education and awareness for the next generation that love shouldn’t hurt, love is kind and respectful. Her fellow Ambassadors also put her name forward to be awarded the Ambassador of the Year Award for 2013.
For more information on how to have Aime come to your next event please visit www.inchbyinchempowerment.com.