Sunday, March 7, 2021

College students increase awareness of abusive relationship

One in three women and one in four men have been victims of some forms of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime, according to the National Statistics of Domestic Violence website.

However, Plattsburgh State’s Title IX Violence Prevention Education and Outreach Coordinator Zyaijah Nadler said there is more than just physical abuse to look out for. She brought up gaslighting, when someone undermines emotions as an example of mental abuse.

“Some examples of signs are you feel like someone’s gaslighting you,” Nadler said. “So, if someone’s always undermining the way you feel, your emotions or any experience you’ve had that can definitely be a sign.”

When it comes to abusive relationships, Nadler said people often look for physical signs. However, there are more that abuse also encompasses.

She said those signs include people’s telling their partners what their feelings are wrong, controlling of their partners’ funds and other forms of controlling behavior over their significant others.

Knowing what steps can be taken to get out of that situation can be imperative to that person’s safety.

In a dangerous situation, knowing where to report the problems to and having a formed plan in case of emergencies is recommended by Title IX.

“We ask the victims and survivors, of course, to make what’s called a safety plan,” Nadler said. “Communicate with someone they love and trust, that kind of knows some of the situation, to help them.”

For college students, Nadler expressed making reports can help with the process as well. Students who might not be ready to leave the situation are in are encouraged to make documentation of incidents.

“Step Up” is a bystander intervention program at PSUC that promotes conversations and awareness about the topic related.
“We just make sure that we’re having conversation,” Nadler said. “I think that’s the biggest program you can do, is have conversations in order to combat what’s happening.”

PSUC senior gender and women’s studies and political science double major Meghan Corrigan, an intern for Title IX, has worked on community collaboration workshops and high school outreach.

Corrigan spoke on the importance of emotional support for those in an abusive situation, and that reaching out to resources like counseling, educated support and support system can help in times of need.

“I think one thing to look out for is being cut off from your support system,” Corrigan said. “If a partner or someone you’re in a relationship with doesn’t want you to have access to that support system, it’s something to look out for.”

PSUC sophomore environmental studies and philosophy double major Alexis Larreategui is also an intern for the Title IX office. She focuses on community outreach, awareness and helps in areas other than campus itself.

Larreategui agrees with Nadler and Corrigan about signs that may suggest a partner is abusive and things a victim can do to safely get out of harmful situations.

She adds that friendships can also be abusive, not just romantic relationships.

“There’s also abusive friendships, where they’re always criticizing you, picking out your negative features or not there for you when you need them,” Larreategui said. “I think abusive friendships are something to look out for and I think it’s sometimes even harder to notice. Especially if it’s a friend you’ve known for a long time.”

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