Stephanie Daniels, Features Editor

2019, the year of the new beginning! Instagram posts of new outlooks on goals, fitness, work and school inspire us all to take them on for ourselves. As students start the spring semester, we have everything from goals about grades, new clubs we may be joining, finding new friends, and for many of us, graduating. We all have people and things in our life that we balance with the responsibilities of a student, and one of those things for several of us is our romantic relationships. Because we prioritize our significant others amongst all the numerous other obligations in our life, it is important to ensure that these relationships are healthy.

According to Loveisrespect.org, college students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse – 57 percent say it is difficult to identify and 58 percent say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it. So how do you identify whether you or someone you know may be in an abusive relationship? Firstly, look inward. Does your relationship feel safe to you? Do you feel that you can freely and safely express yourself without the threat of mental, physical or emotional abuse?

This goes for men and women alike. Nearly half (43 percent) of all college women and one third (28 percent) of college men report having experienced either abuse or controlling behaviors in a dating relationship according to breakthecycle.org.

Need a little bit more to go off of? Website JoinOneLove.org has 10 signs to be aware of: Intensity, Jealousy, Manipulation, Isolation, Sabotage, Belittling, Guilting, Volatility, Deflecting Responsibility, and Betrayal.  Wondering if you’ve seen a friend experience one of these signs, or maybe you have yourself?  Think about your relationship or that of someone you know. What types of things are transpiring within the relationship? Often times it can be hard to identify the signs because our hearts are intertwined within the situation. Our hearts often take the reins and prevent our minds and better judgment from taking the wheel. This is why it is important to have a friend that you trust. This may be a teacher, close friend, club member, church member or counselor. If you find that one of these signs resonates with you, reach out and get another eye and opinion on the situation from someone you trust. It’s known that in this day and age social media professes that you should “keep people out of your relationships”, but if you feel that you may be in danger, reaching out for help is a must. You have to put yourself first.

If you feel like you need help, luckily you have an abundance of resources here on campus. Victim Advocates located in room 131 of the Millennium Student Center Office offers free and confidential support for both students and staff who may have been a victim of crime, violence or abuse.  Further, we all know that even if we aren’t in a relationship there is the possibility of unwanted advances or attention. If you find this applies to you, not only is the above service available on campus, but also Institutional Safety located in the Campus Police Building on North Campus. There, you can get resources about free self defense classes offered by campus police in conjunction with the Women’s Center, as well as access to police escorts in the event you feel uncomfortable and want one.

Lastly, you have access to our Counseling Center on campus located in 131 Millennium Student Center. Inside, counseling services are offered for a variety of topics including crisis intervention. They also offer emergency services for those who are at risk of being hurt or hurting themselves. And with the tight budget that we all can identify with, it is nice to know that the first counseling session is free, with each subsequent session at $10 (sliding scale available for students with financial need).

Take care of yourself and put yourself first. If you feel something, say something. If you see something, say something. We all came here to the University of Missouri–St, Louis to chase our dreams, and we are all deserving of safe relationships during our endeavors.

Campus Resources:

Victim Advocate: 131 Millennium Student Center Office, 314-516-5711. Monday-Friday 8am-5pm by appointment

Institutional Safety: Campus Police Building on North Campus, 314-516-5155

Counseling Center: 131 Millennium Student Center, 314-516-5711