BY ELIZABETH COBB, Staff Writer
In lieu of the recent sexual assault on campus, I took it upon myself to help spread this never-stressed-enough message: You deserve to be safe. Of course, we can’t predict if a stranger might come up to us while we’re walking home alone at night, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is the only kind of assault going on in today’s world. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your sexual orientation is, or where you live—sexual abuse and assault is a problem in and out of relationships and families.
You deserve to be safe. Has a partner or loved one put your down or make you feel ashamed? Does a partner or a loved one dictate whom you see and where you go? Has a partner or loved one ever hurt, or threaten to hurt you, a family member, or friend? Has your partner, or loved one, ever make you feel guilty about not giving into sex? Or continued to push you even after making it clear you aren’t interested? Has someone you are not in a sexual relationship with tried to push sex on you? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, your partner, or loved one, is abusive. Please don’t let it happen again. You are not alone, you are loved, and help is available.
If you feel that someone you love or are in a relationship with is acting abusive (sexually, physically, or emotionally) there are many things you can do.
Talk with someone you trust; have a decided safe place of where to go in the event of an abusive episode; leave an “emergency kit” (money, keys, mace, whistle, medicine, anything you may need in an emergency) with someone you trust or keep one in your bag or purse; practice how to get out of your home quickly (identify which doors, windows, stairways, etc. would be best for a quick escape); and of course, most importantly, call for help. There many people available to send help, provide counseling and give advice, or just listen. No one deserves to be threatened or abused, and if even for a second your partner makes you feel that way, get out, and get out fast. There is no excuse for their behavior, they aren’t going to change, and they aren’t looking out for your best interest. Save, respect, and love yourself.
Together we can stop sexual and domestic violence and abuse. For more information and resources for help, go to the University of Michigan’s Abuse Hurts website: www.stopabuse.umich.edu.
Talk to Experts Who Care
If you are in immediate danger, never hesitate to call 911.
U-M Faculty and Staff Assistance Program
UM-D earborn Campus Safety
National Domestic Violence Hotline
(800) 799-7233 or (800) 787-3224
National Sexual Assault Hotline
(734) 722-6800 or (888) 453-5900
Sexual Assault SAFE
Primary Crisis Line
YMCA Interim House
(248) 334-1274 or (877) 922-1274 or (248) 334-1290
Women’s Survival Center
24 Hour Crisis Hotline