Students should be aware of breakup violence

Opinions Columnist Journalism senior

Texas State students need to become better educated about “breakup violence” and should encourage friends who they think might be in danger to seek help.

Many parents who send their children to college warn them of the various troubles that could arise. As a little girl, I can vividly remember my mother telling me to never talk to strangers, to never get into a car with someone I do not know and to always be observant of my surroundings. As I grew older and obtained my driver’s license, I knew right away it was never okay to text and drive. All of these lessons were taught to me from an early age, and have stayed with me into my college years.

Although my parents and many others desperately want their children to stay safe and make wise choices away from home, sometimes, bad things will happen regardless. The term “break-up violence” was never introduced to me until this past year, and there are many students who still might have never heard of the expression.

Breakup violence happens when a person is victimized after ending a relationship. Both women and men can fall prey to this type of situation without realizing it. In most cases, harassment and manipulation will ensue, and often people will be made to feel bad about the decision to break up. In extreme, rare occurrences, this type of violence can escalate to death. What many college students do not realize is there are many people, some even family members and friends, who may be silently suffering. To avoid any type of breakup violence and help friends in need, students should learn how to spot the signals of a bad relationship early on.

According to a CBS News article from October 2013, one in three Americans between the ages of 14 and 20 report having suffered from verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse from a dating partner.

Often, the victims will decide to tell a friend about the abuse before informing a guardian. Although it can be hard at times to approach friends who are in this type of situation, encouraging them to seek help and inform the police could potentially save a life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, dating violence often begins with teasing and name calling. Although these behaviors can often be interpreted as a “normal” relationship, they can actually signify something far more serious like physical assault and rape.

Additionally, relationship abuse can take place electronically, such as repeated texting or posting sexual pictures of a partner online. According to the same CBS News article, one in four young adults who are in relationships claim they are abused or harassed online or through texts from their partners.

If students want to stop breakup violence from happening, the first step is recognizing the signs of an unhealthy relationship. Anybody who believes a friend or family member may be enduring this type of mistreatment from a partner should persuade them to end the relationship immediately and contact the police if needed.