Should I swipe left or right?

Counseling Services pairs with family shelter to raise awareness of unhealthy relationships

By Sophia Gravatt
On November 2, 2018

ASU Counseling Services and the San Angelo Family Shelter discussed the issue of healthy relationships in a seminar held on Oct. 25.

Donna Solis, case manager at the San Angelo Family Shelter, discussed the warning signs of unhealthy relationships.

Solis said dating violence happens between two people in a current or former relationship. An abuser might cause physical harm, bodily injury, commit sexual assault or make threats that any of those might happen.

"Red flags might include a history of violence and even threats of homicide or suicide," she said. "Threats are a big one. They keep the victim on eggshells because they never know when the abuser might actually do it."

Solis said in many cases, abusers try to isolate the other person from their support systems so that there is not another pair of eyes looking at the relationship.

"Some factors that abusers utilize in a domestic violence relationship are intimidation, control and isolation, minimizing or denying the abuse and threatening," she said. "They might also constantly check your cell phone. There can also be extreme jealousy and false accusations."

She included that digital abuse is also becoming more common, especially with social media playing a big role in people’s lives.

"Digital abuse is the use of technology, such as texting or social networking, to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner," she said. "Some examples are using social media to check on where you are and what you are doing, telling the victim who they can or cannot be friends with on social media, and stealing or forcing the other person to give all of their passwords."

Cell phones are often used as a tool by abusers, she said.

"I always tell my clients that if they are not using their GPS, turn it off so they can’t be tracked," Solis said.

She said there is also ‘spoofing,’ which is when somebody downloads an app that changes their number so they can continue to call the victim even after they have been blocked.

"These apps can change what comes up on their caller ID and it can even change their voice," Solis said.

She said that if you think someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, there are some things you can do to help.

"Reach out to them but don’t force them to talk about it," she said. "Don’t be judgmental or a counselor. Provide referrals if you don’t know how to help them."

Junior Shileigh Potts said she appreciated this topic being discussed.

"I came here because I’ve been in a situation like this and so has one of my friends, so it’s nice to hear it being brought up," she said. "I loved the lecture. I’m glad it’s being put out in the public because a lot of people choose not to talk about it. It just gets stuck on the back burner a lot."

The San Angelo Family Shelter is available to victims of dating violence and provides a safe haven, case management, legal advocacy, victim advocacy and educational services.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.

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