Rape crisis center brings awareness of difference in healthy, abusive relationships

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Rick Gipprich, director of education and training from the Rape Crisis Center for Children and Adults, gave a seminar regarding personal safety Monday in Moody as part of National Violence Awareness Month.  Photo by Altug Sami Icilensu

Rick Gipprich, director of education and training from the Rape Crisis Center for Children and Adults, gave a seminar regarding personal safety Monday in Moody as part of National Violence Awareness Month. Photo by Altug Sami Icilensu

By Celena Flores

Dating violence is neither a woman’s or a man’s issue, but a human being issue, Rick Gipprich of the Rape Crisis Center for Children and Adults said in a seminar Oct. 25.

“It’s really interesting being a guy at the Rape Crisis Center because many people think that this is a woman’s issue, but I don’t. I do this work because there’s not enough men to stand up against violence against women,” Gipprich said.

The seminar was part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month sponsored by the women’s center and the Rape Crisis Center.

Gipprich’s main focus in the seminar was to help people understand that there is help out there and that people should not be afraid to speak up.

Gipprich discussed his mother’s physically and emotionally abusive relationship with his father.

“When my mother finally left my father, she raised me to be the exact opposite of what my father was.” Gipprich said.

The seminar, repeated three times, covered campus safety, dating violence and healthy relationships, and drew audiences of four to 30 people.

It is important to realize that personal safety and healthy relationships go together, Gipprich said.

Someone may never understand what someone else has been through or what they have experienced because they did not go through it, he said.

“People are always surprised when they see the red flags of an unhealthy relationship, and they think about all the relationships that they have had in the past,” Gipprich said.

College students seem to have things to do other than worry about issues like dating violence and rape, he said. People have their little bubbles that they seclude themselves in to not worry about relationships or other people’s problems, he said.

It is easy for people to say exactly what they want in a relationship and how a good relationship should be, but more often people focus on what makes a bad relationship.

Attributes of a healthy relationship are respect, good communication, trust, honesty, compassion, faithfulness and commitment.

Unhealthy relationships are characterized by disrespect, jealousy, cheating, lying, isolation, derogatory remarks and so forth.

An obvious sign of an unhealthy relationship is abuse. Abuse can be emotional, physical and verbal.

“I hear people saying, ‘If this is what it means to have a healthy relationship, I’ve never had one,’” Gipprich said.

The relationships a person has in early adulthood affect the rest of their lives.

Dating violence is a pattern of violent behavior by one partner in a relationship to another partner.

There should be a balance of respect between both partners, he said.

Webster’s dictionary has a few definitions of respect. In this context it would be: “consideration; courteous regard; e.g. to have respect for someone else’s feelings.”

Gipprich described it within a relationship to be able to speak honestly and freely. Decisions should be made together, and partners should trust and support each other. Partners should value other’s independence.

“The meaning of respect should go back to the Bible, ‘Do unto others …’ If you give a little, you get a little,” Gipprich said.

It is hard to understand why someone will not leave an abusive situation. It may not be an option or simply a very hard decision. A person may feel the need to stay together for the children, financial reasons, fear, denial and guilt.

“If you were to ask anyone who is in an abusive situation what they would want to happen, most would say that they just want the abuser to stop,” Gipprich said.

Gipprich told a story about a woman who went to the crisis center for help after she had been beaten and raped by her husband.

She returned to the center three times, and Gipprich did not understand why she continued to allow this to happen to her.

She told Gripprich if her husband found out she told anyone, he would kill her. After the third time the woman went back to her husband, a few days later she was found dead. Her husband killed her.

Gipprich said that the best way to prevent dating violence is to know exactly what you are looking for in a partner.

Signs of an abusive partner:

• Wants to get serious right away.

• Possessive and jealous.

• Wants to control everything and make all the decisions.

• Has a history of bad relationships or of mistreating a partner.

• Uses guilt trips on their partner

• Blames their partner for the abuser’s actions.

• Apologizes after abuse and promises to never do it again.

If you feel you are in a situation like this, get help.  Call the rape crisis hotline at 349-RAPE.

Source: Rape Crisis Center for Children and Adults

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