Controlling Relationships

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On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. In one year, that equates to more than 10 million women and men.

However, physical violence is not the only abuse felt in relationships. Domestic abuse can come in many forms, which include but are not limited to: insulting or demeaning a significant other, controlling what the other person does or wears, controlling all the money in a relationship, intimidating the significant other, or destroying property of the other person.

“Personally, [I think] it’s the small signals hinting at incoming abuse in the relationship that many miss, such as a partner dismissing your personal freedom or the display of extreme emotions towards subjects that shouldn’t initiate such a large reaction,” senior Kayla Lipscomb said. “The reason these are easily missed is either due to the ignorance of the subject or some seeing that the abuse is a form of ‘love’ or a normal aspect of a relationship.”

In a 2013 study, it was found that 35 percent of sophomores had been either physically or verbally abused. However, only about 33 percent of teenage dating abuse victims ever told anyone about it.

“When you’re in [an abusive] relationship for a long time, you lose your identity,” author Faliana Lee said in an interview with The Guardian. “You believe in the lies you were told. We don’t believe in our ability to live an independent life.”

In the social climate of today, many people fear reproachment for coming out about domestic violence or their abuse being downplayed.

“Many high schoolers are too immature to understand the severity of the abuse and normalize it,” an anonymous student from Lakeview said. “Victims don’t feel like they’ll be understood if they tell people.”

Not only is it difficult for victims to come out about their abuse, it is also extremely difficult to get out of the situation – especially with the rise of technology today.

“It’s seriously like being in the scariest movie you’ve ever been in when you’re being threatened in your own home,” author and abuse survivor Kay Schubach said in an interview with The Guardian. “There’s nowhere to go, there’s no escape. It’s hard to explain.”

Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the red flags they should be looking for in a relationship and what help that is offered out there. The counselors here at Lakeview want to make sure that the students know that their door is always open.

“The counselors at Lakeview want you to know that if you are in a abusive relationship, we are here to help you,” counselor Addie Shepherd said. “It’s a serious issue that shouldn’t be ignored. Don’t make excuses for the other person’s behavior. It is never okay for someone to be abusive – verbally, emotionally, or physically.”

Many people who are in controlling relationships fear talking to someone due to being scared of their partner, fearing judgement, or they just don’t want to admit to themselves what kind of relationship they are in.

“I feel like we don’t tell anyone because we’re scared that something could happen to our significant other because we truly do love them, they’re just difficult,” an anonymous student and victim of a controlling relationship said. “I think we do know what to look for, but we look aside because we still care about that person and we conform because we love them and want to try to help them even if they don’t want help.”

Most students are aware of the crisis hotline (1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224), but some students may feel like their don’t have the ability to talk on the phone. However, the National Domestic Violence Hotline also offers a 24/7/365 online chat service here for people to use to contact a hotline advocate one-on-one.

“I personally feel that teens don’t voice their encounters with domestic abuse due to the stigma of them being ‘too young’ to encounter the hardship,” Lipscomb said. “As a result of this stigma, they fear the possibility of receiving fierce backlash from their fellow peers and adult figures.”

Domestic violence is a problem that touches high schools all across the U.S. If you or someone you know needs help, please refer them to or call The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or, online go to DomesticShelters.org

“I was able to end my own crazy love story by breaking the silence,” abuse survivor Leslie Morgan Steiner said in a TED Talk. “I’m still breaking the silence today. It’s my way of helping other victims, and it’s my final request of you. Talk about what you heard here. Abuse thrives only in silence. You have the power to end domestic violence simply by shining a spotlight on it.”

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