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Recognizing Abuse

Your Safety Matters

Persons who have been involved in incidences of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, or harassment can seek out confidential help from the Counseling Center. Appointments can be made by calling 337-475-5136. Please let the front desk staff know that you situation is urgent, and we will arrange for a counselor to meet with you as soon as possible.

Victim Perpetrator Relationship

The homes of victims or perpetrators are the most likely location of a rape or sexual assault, according to the DOJ report, which also identifies the summer as the peak season for attacks.

The majority of sexual assault incidents go unreported, partially due to different social stigmas experienced by men and women who are victims of these crimes. Survey results published by RAINN show that about 60% of victims do not go to police, and only 25% of reported assaults actually lead to an arrest. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) describes other factors that prevent women from reporting attacks, including distrust of authorities and fear of blame.

Men can also be victims. About 10% of sexual assault incidents involve attacks against males according to statistics provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. The support organization, Male Survivor, describes male victims face different types of stigma involving stereotypes of machismo, toughness, and a lack of vulnerability. These societal misconceptions can prevent men from reporting unwanted sexual activity.

But sexual assault is not the only type of relationship abuse. Stalking is the the intentional and repeated following or harassing of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed or suffer emotional distress including the uninvited presence of the perpetrator at the person’s workplace, school, or home. Relationship violence includes behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control another. Behaviors can include physical, emotional, verbal, or psychological abuse. Partners may be married or not married, heterosexual, gay, or lesbian, living together, separated, or dating. Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, or sex can be victims or perpetrators of relationship violence.

Recognizing Abuse

Emotional Abuse

  • Tone: Seemingly harmless statements can transform into threats or insults if your partner uses a disparaging or aggressive tone.
  • Language choice: A partner blames you for things or uses coarse language, such as swear words, while speaking to you.
  • Jealousy: Your partner seems suspicious of your interactions with other people. Your partner attempts to control your interactions, isolate you, or monitor your communications with others.
  • Controlling statements: Your partner issues commands or often says you “must” or “have to” do something.
  • Pejorative language: Your partner addresses or describes you with insulting names or adjectives, such as “stupid” or “idiotic.”
  • Threats: Your partner attempts to control you with “or else” statements or negative consequences if you don’t comply with their wishes. Your partner might threaten you with physical, emotional, or verbal abuse.

Physical Abuse

  • Violence: Your partner uses unwanted and forceful contact. This can include anything from wrist grabs to strikes against your body.
  • Threatening body language: Your partner uses forceful movements, such as lunging toward you, glaring at you, or aggressively invading your personal space.
  • Damaging property: Your partner has lost their temper and damaged items around the house.
  • Violence during sex: Your partner is extremely forceful or even violent during sex.

According to surveys from the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCDSV), over 40 percent of college women reported experiencing some form of violent or abusive behavior while dating.

Assault Prevention in Relationships

If you’ve identified that your partner exhibits the controlling or aggressive behaviors listed above and you are too afraid to bring these issues up safely within your relationship, it’s time to get help. Victims often realize the dangers of their situation after it’s too late; the dynamic between the abuser and abused is strategically created to discourage the victims to acknowledge or address the problem.

Intimate partner abuse and violence is never okay. It is more common than you may think and it is wholly within your power and your rights to get out safely.

  • Contact a support line: If you’re unsure how to get away from an abusive partner, contact a support hotline for assistance. Love Is Respect and the National Domestic Abuse Hotline both provide 24/7 phone assistance.
  • Do not blame yourself: Self-blame is extremely common in abusive relationships. It can be easy to feel trapped in your situation. However, your partner’s abusive actions are absolutely not your fault or a sign of weakness on your part. Keep this in mind as you seek help.
  • List safe places: Know where you can go in case you need to get away from an abusive partner. This might include a campus counseling center, a trusted friends’ dorm room, a survivors’ shelter, or a residence hall staff office.
  • Document hostile communications: It can be emotionally painful to save threatening messages that your partner sends. However, voice messages, emails, IMs, and other hostile communications can be immensely useful to demonstrate a history of assault when you speak with counselors or authorities.
  • Get counseling: The McNeese Counseling Center has staff available to help students in a safe and confidential setting.
  • Call the police: If you are being threatened with assault, attempt to reach a safe place and call the police immediately.