I really trusted him.
I just wish they'd stop!
This can't be happening.
Why don't they like me?
Who can I talk to?
Can anyone help me!?
I can't believe the things they say.
There’s a place that you can always turn to. With people who care. People who you can confide in. People who will help you. That place is the Women’s Resource Center.
The Center’s Lackawanna and Susquehanna County offices both have full-time Counselor Advocates who work exclusively with teen and young adult victims of dating violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.
These Counselor Advocates provide short term crisis counseling at WRC offices or in local schools, colleges, and universities. Accompaniment to medical, police and court proceedings related to domestic violence and sexual assault is also provided.
Counselor advocates are available to provide educational programs for community clubs, professionals, classrooms, and other groups about dating violence, sexual assault, domestic and stalking at no charge.
Recognizing Healthy Relationships
Learn how your relationships are built from different elements of power and control. Do you exercise healthy relationships?
Healthy VS Unhealthy
Equality. Partners share decisions and responsibilities. They discuss roles to make sure they’re fair and equal.
Honesty. Partners share their dreams, fears, and concerns with each other. They tell each other how they feel and share important information.
Physical Safety. Partners feel physically safe in the relationship and respect each other’s space.
Respect. Partners treat each other like they want to be treated and accept each other’s opinions, friends, and interests. They listen to each other.
Comfort. Partners feel safe with each other and respect each other’s differences. They realize when they’re wrong and are not afraid to say, “I’m sorry.” Partners can “be themselves” with each other.
Sexual Respectfulness. Partners never force sexual activity or insist on doing something the other isn’t comfortable with.
Independence. Neither partner is dependent upon the other for an identity. Partners maintain friendships outside of the relationship. Either partner has the right to end the relationship.
Humor. The relationship is enjoyable for both partners. Partners laugh and have fun.
Control. One partner makes all the decisions and tells the other what to do, or tells the other person what to wear or who to spend time with.
Dishonesty. One partner lies to or keeps information from the other. One partner steals from the other.
Physical Abuse. One partner uses force to get his/her way (for example, hitting, slapping, grabbing, shoving).
Disrespect. One partner makes fun of the opinions and interests of the other partner. He or she may destroy something that belongs to the other partner.
Intimidation. One partner tries to control every aspect of the other’s life. One partner may attempt to keep his or her partner from friends and family or threaten violence or a break-up.
Sexual Abuse. One partner pressures or forces the other into sexual activity against his/her will or without his/her consent.
Dependence. One partner feels that he/she “can’t live without” the other. He/she may threaten to do something drastic if the relationship ends.
Hostility. One partner may “walk on eggshells” to avoid upsetting the other. Teasing is mean-spirited.
Types of Abuse
- Emotional/ verbal abuse: includes nonphysical behaviors, insults, humiliation, intimidation, isolation, stalking, excessive texting, or constantly checking in with you. This can also include blaming your actions for their abusive behaviors, calling you names, putting you down, or yelling at you.
- Physical abuse: includes unwanted physical contact by a partner. The abuse does not always leave a mark or a bruise. For example, pulling your hair, biting, scratching, pushing you, grabbing your face/other body parts, forcing you to have sex or perform sexual activities, or using a gun/ knife.
- Sexual abuse: forcing you to perform or engage in sexual activity against your will. This can also include when one person controls another’s sexual activity or even restricts the ability to use condoms or birth control. Includes unwanted touching/kissing, rape/attempted rape, unwanted rough or violent sexual activity, or pressuring someone to perform any kind of sexual act or to engage in sex.
- Stalking: stalking is a repeating pattern of behavior; one that makes you feel unsafe and can make you feel anxious. Stalkers tend to follow or harass an individual. Each state is different with their legal definition of stalking. Stalking can include showing up at your home, work place, and/or school, sending you flowers or unwanted gifts, continuously calling, and possibly destroying property.
- Financial abuse: when your partner withholds money from you, gives you very little money to spend, or does not let you work. Financial abuse places a victim in a position of being financially dependent on their partner.
- Digital abuse: when a partner uses technology to harass, embarrass, bully, stalk, or intimidate you via social media, texting, sexting, phone calls and check-ins.
Setting boundaries in a relationship is healthy, it is important to have open communication to stay on the same page as your partner. Knowing what your partner is comfortable with is important because everybody deserves to be in a respectful and healthy relationship. Knowing your partners’ wishes, goals, and what they would like to achieve, not only in their own life, but in the relationship is important. Having your own identity, hanging out with your own set of friends, your family, and spending time alone with yourself doing things you enjoy without being checked-up on will keep your relationship well balanced.
- Separate your thoughts, needs, and feelings from your partner and others.
- Be assertive. It is perfectly ok to say ‘no’ if you do not want to do an activity.
- Self care. Take care of yourself.
- Empower yourself by making healthy choices.
- Develop a support system of people that support and love you through your journey.
- Do not suppress your feelings, talk about them!
Sex. We have to talk about it.
Just because you are in a relationship does not mean you have to have sex with your partner. Even if you have made-out or had sex before does not mean you have to do it again the next time you see your partner. Remember that NO means NO. If your partner says that s/he ‘loves you’ does not mean you have to do anything physical with them. NO means NO.
- In a healthy relationship, it is best that both partners maintain open communication. Each person should be able to openly express their feelings and respect each other’s boundaries about sex.
- It is best that both partners know how far each is ready or willing to go physically.
- Communication is key because sometimes the level of comfort changes.
- Remember, go at your own pace, and keep with what makes you comfortable.
- Do not push it if you are not ready to go the next level or to engage in sexual activity.
- Some things to think about with your partner:
- Do you both feel comfortable with the decision?
- How are you going to practice safe sex? Think about STI testing, condoms and consider birth control.
Remember that you have control and either of you can stop at any time.
Setting boundaries in today’s technology world is important. Having that open communication about, “should we share our passwords?” Keep in mind what makes you feel comfortable when sharing social media information. Just because you are in a relationship does not mean your partner needs to know your password for Facebook or need access to your cell phone. Your partner should respect your relationship boundaries. You have the right to be in a healthy and respectful relationship in person and online.
- It is ok to turn your phone off or walk away from it. Your cell phone does not need to be glued to you.
- You do not need to send anything you do not feel comfortable with i.e.: sexting
- Have a discussion about check-ins or tagging in photos
- Discuss looking through each other’s electronic devices or having access to them
- Remember that Facebook changes their privacy settings frequently. It is always a good idea to keep a check on what information is on your timeline for the public to access. Remember once information is on the internet, it is there forever.
- Think about Foursquare, Instagram, and other location sharing apps. Are you comfortable being included in these tags?
If you or someone you know is in trouble, call 570-346-4671 in Lackawanna County or 570-278-1800 in Susquehanna County.
Drugs and Alcohol
When under the influence of drugs or alcohol the risk of any type of abuse (physical, verbal, emotional, digital, and sexual) can increase.
Having a few drinks at a party could escalate to violence, especially if there is a history of abuse in the relationship. Your partner might blame the abuse on the drugs and/or alcohol by saying things such as:
“I would never hit you if I was sober.”
“That’s who I am high.”
“That’s the beer talking, not me.”
- Your partner may blame drugs and/or alcohol instead of taking responsibly for their behavior. Regardless of the use of drugs or alcohol, they are no excuse for violent behavior.
In a healthy relationship, it is critical to discuss what each partner is comfortable with sexually and to respect those boundaries. Open communication from the beginning and throughout the relationship is a key to a healthy relationship. You want your partner to feel comfortable and yourself as well. Do not assume that since your partner consented to a sexual activity once, that they are consenting to it again in the future. You have to ask first every time, even in marriage! In addition, you have the right to feel comfortable and know that you can stop at anytime during any type of sexual encounter.
- Your partner pressures you or attempts to guilt you into doing things you don’t want to do
- They ignore your wishes, not paying attention to your nonverbal cues of not consenting
- Reacting negatively or resenting you
- Making you feel like you owe them something because they bought you something or because you ‘love them or they love you’
Being an up-stander!
We need to stop making it ‘not our business‘ and intervene if a situation does not look like it is going well. Being an up-stander is acting in another individual’s best interest and making sure they get to their destination safety. Standing up and speaking up for what you believe to be right.
Check this scenario…
Let us say you are at a party and you see that a person is trying to guide a woman whom is stumbling into one of the bedrooms. Some of the things you could do:
- Assess the situation: will you be safe if you directly intervene?
- Alert others ask for help if needed.
- Tell the host.
- Make a distraction(s)/ redirect that focus somewhere else.
- “Hey, I need to talk to you.”
- “This party is lame, let’s go somewhere else.”
- Spilling your drinking and making a scene.
- Taking that person to their destination
Having a safety plan can help you when needing to flee a dangerous situation. Having a safety plan could help you feel safe and empower you, whether you decide to continue or end the relationship. Safety plans should be personalized. Some things to think about when developing a safety plan:
- If you need to leave school, who is a safe person you can ask to take you home?
- Do you need a safe friend to walk you to class?
- What friends are safe to sit with during lunch or a free period?
- What is your safety plan if you are home alone?
- What are your community resources?
- What resources does your school provide?
- What is the safest route for you to get to class?
- Which buildings do you frequently run into your partner on campus?
- What is your safety plan within your dorm building?
- What are your safety plans for the buildings you frequent most often on campus for class, meals, etc.?
- What are the resources your college/university provides?
- What are your community resources?
Remember WRC Advocates are always available to discuss options for safety planning. Call 570-346-4671 in Lackawanna County or 570-278-1800 in Susquehanna County.
Below is a link with an outline for safety planning:
Who’s on your support team?
Having a support system to help you through an abusive relationship can be an important part of the healing process. The people in your support system should be people that you trust and feel comfortable speaking with.
Circle of 6
With Circle of 6 you have a new way to connect with your most trusted friends- to stay close, stay safe and prevent violence before it happens! It’s the mobile way to look out for your friends – on campus or when you’re out for the night.
Circle of 6 lets you choose 6 trusted friends to add to your circle. If you get into an uncomfortable or risky situation, use Circle of 6 to automatically send your circle a pre-programmed SMS alert message, with your exact location. It’s quick. It’s discreet. Two taps on your device is all it takes.
Here’s how it works:
• You’re out late and you lose track of your friends. Use Circle of 6 to send your circle a “come and get me” message- with a map using GPS to show your precise location.
• You’re on a date that starts to get uncomfortable. You need a polite way to excuse yourself. Use Circle of 6 to alert your circle to call you and interrupt the situation.
• You’re seeing someone new, but you have some doubts about how things are going. Use Circle of 6 to access a wealth of online information about healthy relationships.
• In critical situations, use Circle of 6 to call two pre-programmed national hotlines or a local emergency number of your choice.
• New health and safety information at Scarleteen.com embedded into Circle of 6