Eastern Michigan University logo

Domestic Violence

You can always call or visit the WRC during business hours for emotional support, information or referrals. The WRC believes that only the survivor knows what is right for them. You have the right to consider all of your options without pressure. We fully support you and whatever path you choose. 

What does abuse look like?

Physical Abuse

  • Grabbing
  • Shoving
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Slapping
  • Restricting movement

Sexual Abuse

  • Forced or coerced sex
  • Refusing to wear a condom
  • Threatening to end the relationship if you don't have sex
  • Hiding or destroying your birth control
  • Removing or breaking condoms during sex
  • Forcing you to carry a pregnancy to term or terminate a pregnancy

Verbal Abuse

  • Insults
  • Threats
  • Yelling

Emotional Abuse

  • Often includes verbal abuse
  • Gaslighting (making the victim question reality)
  • Ignoring or isolating
  • Threats and intimidation
  • Lying
  • Denial of abuse
  • Blaming the victim

Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

The person is more likely to become violent if they:

  • Get jealous when you spend time with others
  • Get angry over small things
  • Throw or break things when they are angry
  • Abuse alcohol or drugs
  • Want to spent every moment together

Pay attention to how you feel around this person. In an abusive relationship you might feel:

  • Anxious or scared around them
  • More yourself or relieved when they are not around
  • Depressed or sad
  • Nausea, headaches, or other physical illnesses

Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship

  • Trust, honesty, and accountability
  • Communication
  • Friendship
  • Mutual respect
  • Decisions are made together
  • Each partner takes responsibility for themselves
  • Partners do not try to control each other

Healthy Boundaries

"Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits" (Richmond, 2018).

Why are boundaries important?

  • Proactive communication. Boundaries Indicate to others how you want to be treated.
  • Self-care. Boundaries protects us from being overwhelmed or triggered
    • Get more of what you want and less of what you don't want.
  • Maintaining your identity within relationships. Partnerships are based on mutual respect, trust, and growth.
  • Safety. Protects your physical boundaries.

How do you set boundaries?

  • Clarify and understand your needs. What do I need? What is important to me? What are my values? What part of myself do I not want to lose?
  • Communicate your boundaries using "I" statements.
  • Take responsibility for your needs. Own the decisions you have made.
  • Communicate when your boundaries have been violated.
  • Practice!

Warning signs of Violated Boundaries

  • Justifying poor behavior
  • You notice patterns of behavior that you don't like or that could potentially violate your boundaries.
  • Blaming yourself.
  • Feelings of shame.
  • Your decisions are dismissed/disregarded.
  • Making sacrifices to please others.
  • Lowering your standards.

Self-Awareness

Each member of the relationship is responsible for their own actions, including you. Not everyone is inclined to introspection, and it can be scary and difficult to look at your own behavior and acknowledge that you need to change something. However, this leads to a better relationship with yourself and with others.

How to practice self-awareness

  • LISTEN to your partner(s). 
  • Respect your partner's boundaries. They are non-negotiable. 
  • Respect your partner's rights and feelings
  • Practice consent.
    • Don't touch your partner(s) without asking first. This applies to non-sexual touch, as well.
    • Do not give unsolicited advice.
    • Ask before talking about your feelings and potentially triggering topics. You should never expect your partner to perform emotional labor. 

More resources and info:

Women's Resource Center is part of Diversity & Community Involvement