Topic: Relationship Conflict and Violence
Speaker: Gladys Smith, Sexual Violence Prevention Therapist and Licensed Psychologist
PsyD, LPC, LCPC, NCC, CASAC, MAC, RYT
We were extremely fortunate that Gladys Smith was able to come talk to Connections about relationship and sexual violence.
Her talk highlighted how healthy inter-personal relationships are based on equality and respect, rather than on power and control. Healthy, and functional interactions should promote and foster a number of characteristics including: open communication, trust and support, honesty and accountability, and shared power. In contrast, unhealthy relationships may involve unequal control or hostility, intimidation or disrespect, dishonesty, or sexual/physical violence. Unhealthy relationships can present themselves as not just physically harmful, but can also involve financial, emotional, digital, or sexual abuse and/or stalking.
Furthermore, she validated that conflict is not inherently “bad” but dealing with conflict in a healthy way is important. She provided us with a technique to use in order to have a productive conversation about a conflict or tension in a relationship:
“I feel…” “when you…because…” ”what I would like to happen is”
Using this technique clearly outlines the problem and offers a solution in a healthy way.
See resources below for more information:
Victims of relationship or sexual violence are never responsible for the abusive actions. Nobody ever deserves to be abused. And resources are available. If you have been a victim of relationship and/or sexual violence, there are a number of resources available on campus and beyond:
Some additional tips for friends and family:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline reminds us that “relationship violence can impact anyone – anyone can be abusive, and anyone can be the victim of abuse”
The statistics about relationship violence comes from reported cases, so the numbers could be higher than presented. Currently the data suggests that more than 1 out of 3, and 1 out of 4 men have been victims of violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime (The National Domestic Violence Hotline). But intersectionality of identities can change the rate of risk- marginalized groups are often at even higher risk for violence, as stated in a Huffington Post article:
Additionally, the cycle of abuse is such that individuals who have been exposed to abuse are more likely to perpetuate violence as adults. A finding from the World Health Organization stated that, “exposure to violence during childhood increases the likelihood of men perpetrating violence against intimate partners by 3 to 4-fold, compared to men who are not exposed to violence as children.”
Remember, conflict in relationships is normal, but unhealthy conflict can and does happen. If you are a victim of relationship violence, you do not need to tolerate abuse, and there are people are resources available to help 24/7.
This blog is made to record the information learned at Connections lectures.
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