How to know if you're in an unhealthy relationship as told by The Women's Community

Published: Feb. 9, 2016 at 9:49 AM CST
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Many people may know someone who is in an unhealthy relationship. Tuesday night, head to the Marathon County Public Library, Wausau branch, to view an engaging presentation held by the Women's Community and library staff on teen dating violence.

They'll speak about what a healthy relationship is, how to help someone you care for who is experiencing abuse, prevention and what to do if you're the victim.

What to do if you want to help a friend in need

For those who want to help someone they care about, who is clearly in a unhealthy relationship, it may seem hard when they don't listen to your advice. But, Sexual Assault Program Family Advocate at The Women's Community, Jamie Guensburg says the victim might not see the warning signs.

"The biggest thing is to listen and be that support," Guensburg advised people who want to help. "The person you're talking to might not see those signs, might not be ready to leave, but being that support and being open so that if they do need someone to talk to they have someone."

The warning signs

Abuse does not just mean physical. There's many forms that are seen in all ages like verbal abuse, controlling behaviors, and manipulation. Some warning signs are: physical marks, changes in behaviors, such as not doing a certain activities they used to. This could be things like going to the gym, hanging out with friends, or being involved in a club or group activity. In addition, making excuses for the other person's behaviors is also a sign.

What is a healthy relationship?

Simply put, a health relationship is where two people, together, experience something positive and be happy. Guensburg says both parties should put equal effort into the relationship, and also leave time for themselves too. The relationship should have clear communication and you should always feel like your voice is heard.

Pop culture and social media as a negative influence

For young adults, social media plays a major role in teen dating violence. Guensburg says that sexting is a problem in the Marathon County area. She says local teens send out nude pictures, without thinking about the backlash. She's seen that photos have circled throughout local schools. Guensburg also said while some parents may think teen relationships are just 'puppy love' there's long term effects of unhealthy relationships.

"When they become adults, and they're in the dating world, they're going to base those relationships on what they experience as teens, she said. "If the only experience they have is unhealthy than that's most likely going to spill over into their adult relationships."

The music industry also spreads bad behaviors through songs, which at a young age, you can be influenced by. Guensburg says there's songs you may sing along to that clearly have negative dating behaviors, but we sing along to it without realizing it. At the event they'll be doing Karaoke to show the different songs, and liven the conversation up a bit too.

The event is free and open to the public from 7-8 p.m.