Victims of dating violence urged to look for ways out

By Amy Callaghan

A relationship might appear to be fine, but there are signs to look for which might indicate a violent dating relationship.

Violence can be shown in three forms: emotional, psychological and physical, said Pam Wiseman, director of Safe Passage.

Safe Passage is the DeKalb County Domestic Violence Agency.

Wiseman said she wants students to know that violence in dating relationships is occurring and urges victims to do something about it before it gets out of control.

“It’s not just women, men can be victims too,” said Valli Furan, counselor at the Counseling and Student Development Center. “And violence can occur in lesbian and gay relationships.”

Violence might consist of constant put downs, name-calling and criticism, Furan said.

Wiseman said the abuser in the relationship might be morbidly jealous, which is characterized by obsessive behavior and involves irrational thinking in which there usually is no basis for the accusation.

Sometimes abusers will try to control the actions of their partners and believe their partners can’t become angry or pass judgement on them, Wiseman said.

Wiseman also said if there is a history of family violence or if the partner was violent in other relationships, there is a greater chance that the person will be abusive.

“If you’re hit once, there’s a very high possibility that it will happen again and will get worse,” Wiseman said.

Furan said a victim can get out of an abusive relationship, “by realizing something is wrong, by listening to what you’re feeling inside and by talking about the problems if you want to stay in the relationship.”

Furan and Wiseman agreed that if people are feeling uncomfortable in a relationship they should leave the other person.

“This is a big problem nationally, not just at NIU, and depending on the type it will get worse,” Furan said. “The violence doesn’t end with verbal abuse—it will escalate into other kinds of abuse, like physical abuse.”