Being in a relationship in 2017 is a completely different world than it was when our grandparents were doing the jitterbug. Romantic relationships for college students start from text messages, Tinder, mutual friendships, group projects or even running into each other at Chasers.
But these casual starts to relationships can quickly turn sour. College students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse, according to LoveIsRespect, a website that aims to prevent and end dating abuse. 57 percent of young adults say it is difficult to identify, and 58 percent say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it.
“All students have various relationships in their lives,” said Lena Salpietro, a graduate assistant for the Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program in the University of Toledo’s Counseling Center. “Being able to determine what are healthy and unhealthy behaviors and working towards resolving conflicts and communicating effectively is something anyone in a relationship should be knowledgeable of.”
SAEPP, along with the UT Police, are hosting “The Healthy Relationship Seminar” on Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. in the Student Union (room 2584). Teaching students about the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to cultivate these relationships is the goal of the collaboration.
“Students need to know, good or bad, relationships are certain to occur,” said Lt. Tressa Johnson of the UT Police. “Students should understand they will have many different kinds of relationships with many different people in their lives, and it is important to know how to have a healthy relationship without the negative influence of society and media through movies, advertisement or music.”
One in three dating college students has given a dating partner their computer, online access, email or social network passwords. LoveIsRespect.org says these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse. In addition, one in six college women has been sexually abused in a dating relationship and nearly half (43 percent) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.
“I want students to know what happens in a healthy relationship,” Johnson said. “I want students to recognize warning signs of an unhealthy relationship. I want all of our students to become bystanders against violence, harassment and inappropriate comments. I want students to recognize the power they have to prevent or minimize themselves and others from all forms of violence.”
At the seminar, students will be educated on how to recognize the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship and how to safely and effectively intervene. Salpietro says education is how students can help create a safer culture on campus and within the UT community.
“This seminar will provide a safe place to talk about relationships and learn and practice healthy relationship skills,” Johnson said. “This seminar will also inform students of the numerous benefits in a healthy relationship, which will help to create a violence free campus here at UT.”
Johnson says the seminar will give all attendants a clear understanding of “good relationships are based on respect and equality. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.”
The event will have opportunities for audience participation, along with activities on evaluating relationships and the creation of a support map.
For more information about the seminar, check out the Facebook pages of UT SAEPP and UTPD.