Interpersonal violence is domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Domestic and dating violence are felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence. Domestic violence refers to violence in a relationship in which there is some kind of family, intimate, or shared living situation. Dating violence refers to violence in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. Stalking refers to engaging in actions or behaviors that are directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety, the safety of others, and/or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Domestic violence, dating violence and stalking is more common in college than most people think. In fact, 21% of college students report having experienced dating violence by a current partner, 32% experienced dating violence by a pervious partner and over 13% of college women report they have been stalked of which 42% were stalked by a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. (Statistics from the 2007 National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) Abuse occurs in same-gender relationships as often as in relationships between people of different genders. Many students are concerned about reporting interpersonal violence or stalking because they are concerned that it could make the violence and/or stalking worse, they don't want the person to get in trouble, are fearful of family and/or friends finding out and/or they have conflicted feelings for them to name a few.
It is important to know that there are free, confidential supportive services both on campus and in the community if you are a student who has experienced domestic violence, dating violence and/or stalking. The EIU Counseling Center can assist you with counseling support and advocacy for shelter, academics, medical and filing complaints if desired. HOPE, in the Charleston community, can assist with the same, as well as provide shelter on a temporary basis. Many who experience interpersonal violence feel alone, but they are not alone. The University is committed to providing the resources to help students secure their safety and heal.
Potential Warning Signs of Interpersonal Violence
Warning Signs Someone May Be Being Abused/Victimized May Include
- Withdrawal from friends and/or activities
- Absences from class, work or regular activities
- Failing grades
- Dramatic changes in mood or personality
- Extensive concern about the partner’s anger, disapproval or happiness
- Visible marks and bruises
- Emotional outbursts
- Overreacting to minor incidents
- Difficulty making decisions without the partner
- Constantly defending the abuser and may blame self
- Changes in appearance
Warning Signs of a Potential Abusive Person May Include
- Attempts at monitoring activities/relationships
- Lack of respecting boundaries
- Threats and/or destruction of property
- Verbal abuse
- Puts others down
- Use of humiliation
- Isolating person from support (family, friends, mentors)
- Use of intimidation
- Volatile temper
- Forces unwanted sexual behavior
- Blames the victim or others for the abuse
- History of violence
- Uses hurtful and/or discriminatory language about others based on gender, race, sexual orientation.
- Mean to animals or children
- Breaking or hitting objects (ex:punching a wall)