KSU students taking a deeper look at abusive relationships

Emily Nordquist

Relationship problems are common among college students, but it’s important to know the difference between a resolvable issue and an unhealthy, abusive relationship.

“When people think of abusive relationships, I think most people think of hitting,” senior psychology major Autumn Piller said. “That is abusive, but some people don’t consider it abusive if their partner calls them fat.”

Rachael Shansky, senior communication studies major, notes that people sometimes excuse this by saying it is the job of their boyfriend or girlfriend to tell them if they should lose weight.

“That is emotional abuse,” Shansky said. “It is wrong and it should not be a common thing.”

Piller and Shansky are members of the Kent Student Center Programming staff, which will host a presentation on emotionally abusive relationships as part of their Health Awareness Month programming. The program will be held at 3 p.m. today in the Student Center Governance Chambers.

Meghan Novisky, coordinator for the victim outreach program with Townhall II, will be speaking in the Governance Chambers for the presentation. Some of her topics will cover how people become involved in abusive relationships and warning signs to watch for in abusive partners.

According to acadv.org, some of the warning signs your partner may be abusive are characterized by extreme jealousy and unpredictable mood swings. They may attempt to control your actions or isolate you from your friends and family.

Novisky is a victim advocate with Townhall II, who can be requested by victims of domestic violence or rape by calling the help hotline, (330) 678-HELP. Novisky said these advocates work on a volunteer basis and can be reached 24 hours a day. They assist in the process of healing, legal matters, finding shelter or counseling.

“Our most important job is to offer emotional support to these victims,” Novisky said.

According to the Iona college counseling center, one in four American women will be assaulted by a partner or ex-partner in life, regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status or profession. For the abuser, control and dominance are the key issues involved in any form of an abusive or unhealthy relationship.

Also, the negative characteristics of an abusive or unhealthy relationship can often be traced to abuse or neglect in childhood of one or both partners.

Women are not the only victims in abusive relationships. According to Planned Parenthood, a study of men seeking care at an emergency room found that 13 percent had been physically abused by a female partner in the preceding year. Half of those men reported being punched, kicked, choked or bitten.

“It is important to know these problems won’t just work themselves out,” said Amy Werstler, a sophomore physical education major at the Stark campus. “You need to make a change and get yourself out of that situation.”

Any form of abuse, be it physical, emotional or verbal, shows a lack of respect in the relationship. Kent State offers a number of resources to help victims of abusive relationships.

Contact student life reporter Emily Nordquist at [email protected].