Sticks and Stones

 The childhood verse  “sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt  us” is NOT true for anyone who is on the receiving end of verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is violence or abuse  where words are used instead of fists. Someone recently sent me a link to a awesome 1  minute video  on the Power of Words  and the change they can make in someones life. Words used for good, that are uplifting and kind, have great power to empower and change someone. But cruel and insulting words also have power. Power to control, to hurt and to demean.

Many times people don’t recognize verbal abuse—especially when it comes from a person they believe loves them. It can include put downs, name calling, criticism, anger and threats, manipulation and other controlling statements. Verbal abuse almost always occurs in abusive relationships where ‘Sticks and stones’ do break someones bones, and words breaks their spirit, confidence, hope and heart”


What??? It happens in Utah?

Yes, sadly it does. That is one of the unfortunate things Utah has in common with every other state. In fact there’s been at least 13 dating related deaths reported here since 2005. 16% of rapes and 18 % of attempted rapes in Utah are committed by boyfriends or ex-boyfriends. Yes, it happens in Utah.

Last year, 11 percent of high school students in Utah reported being abused by a significant other and 19 percent of college students have had some type of exposure to violence or abuse in relationships. Yes, it happens in Utah.

One of the things Utah DOESN’T have in common with every other state is the F grade the state recently earned from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because of the lack of laws including one that would allow those 18 and under to get a protective order for protection; also we failed for having no preventive school measures required.

Utah lawmakers have carried legislation dealing with protective orders as a result of teen violence for at least  five years, but every year it is set aside until the next session.

Last year, lawmakers in Utah adopted a policy that would allow age-appropriate materials on violence prevention available in  public schools. Take note that it is allowed not required.

As of today Utah still has no specific law dealing with teen dating or intimate partner violence. That is a “HILL” that still needs to be climbed . Because Yes, it happens in Utah.

Relationship Violence & Movies

This post is sure to offend a few, so be warned! Violent and Unhealthy dating relationships are often not only portrayed but perpetuated  in the movies. The negative portrayal of  these relationships perpetuate the acceptance of violence in the real world outside of the  theater.  Movies fuel the confusion and acceptance of violence in relationships. Often fantasy, romanticism and abuse are all twisted  together making violence and unhealthy behaviors appear as a normal, acceptable part of a relationship, even a preferable  one. Twilight is a perfect example. Yes, this is where some will be offended. The movies are filled with jealousy, emotional  dependency,  control, obsessive ‘love’, changing ones-self to be acceptable, threats of self harm, depression caused by seperation….just to name a few!! Now go back to  previous posts on this blog and see how many of these look familiar!! This is  not the only movie that is guilty of this, but case in point!

But Hollywood deserves kudos too! The 2 minute ad starring Keira Knightly, is a daring and disturbingly realistic portrayal of relationship violence.

It is a little confusing that two clearly opposing views of relationship violence comes from the same source. Strange huh?

When Guys are the Victims

I recently received this email: “I have been with my girlfriend for a year and a half. She is destroying our lives. No matter what I do, it is taken as an act to hurt her feelings – to the point of her screaming she hates me and is in my face hitting and attacking me. She throws things. If I do anything to get out of her way like push her off – she screams that I am abusing her; she said she was going to talk to ourBishop. It is to  the point that I am scared to talk to my family, and her family and friends think it is all me that I am mean to her.  I am embarrassed that I had to take some of my roomates girlfriends makeup so I could cover bruises on my face  and neck. I just do not know what I can do for her or us. She always says she is sorry and I feel so sorry for her, but  she just seems to be more angry and mean. She breaks glasses, her cell phone and other things on a weekly basis. I  have bruises and scratches on me from her. I love her, but I think I know the only answer is to leave her but she  always says she will kill herself because she loves me so much…..”

Did you have to go back and see if I had written that wrong? This is a GUY being abused???? Some people even laugh  and make light of a situation like this, how much damage can a little 105 lb. girl do anyway????

Have you ever seen a angry 8 lb cat trapped in a room, how much damage they can do????

Stereo typing often prevents us from seeing the female as a potentially violent person. This prevents guys from seeking help, even more than girls in the reverse situation. Watch this link on youtube to see how people in general react (

There is one big difference between male and female violence; with women it isn’t just about control, it’s about hurting the other person. It’s about making the other person suffer.

It seems that when women go at it, it’s a lot more vicious. When women fight, it’s to hurt the other person. And that’s a big reason why women — when they do go violent — are such wildcats.

So while you are becoming more aware of signs of violent and unhealthy relationships, either yours or someone you know, don’t forget that sometimes it can be him, not her in a dangerous or painful relationship.

Yes, there ARE Healthy Relationships!!

Just do the math….if 2 out of 10 relationships are unhealthy, abusive or violent that means 8 are not!!! So what is a healthy relationship anyway?

One short, easy and spot-on definition is: a relationship that allows us to feel good about ourselves while also caring about the other person feeling good about themselves at the same time!

Signs of a Healthy Relationship

In a healthy relationship:

  • Both of you can express your thoughts, feelings and needs without fear or worry
  • Both of you can maintain your individuality.
  • Both of you can use effective communication skills
  • Both of you can show respect and kindness.
  • Both of you can use good conflict resolution skills.
  • Both of you can accept the need for a balance of giving and receiving
  • Both of you can enjoy each other’s company

When you are dating, get some honest input from friends and family about what positive

things they see, and possible problems that they see, between you and the person you are dating.

Be familiar with the things that build and maintain a healthy, equal and satisfying relationship.

Building a healthy relationship takes time and commitment from both partners. But it is possible

and worthwhile.

April 1st: Sexual Assault is NO Joke!


Sexual assault is the legal term for rape, and involves behaviors beyond forced sexual intercourse. Sexual assault can be any unwanted sexual contact, such as unwanted touching, fondling, or groping of sexual body parts. It can be committed by the use of threats or force or when someone takes advantage of circumstances that render a person incapable of giving consent.

Although sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, any age, there is a higher prevalence of sexual assaults among college age students. Statistics show 20% of college women are victims of some type of sexual assault while in school. Of women who have been sexually assaulted in college, 9 out of 10 assaults were by someone they knew. While 10% of sexual assaults were non-partner violence, 14% of reported sexual violence was from a dating partner.

Get involved and be one of the many who refuse to keep silent any longer!

What Does Stalking Have to do With Dating Violence?

To others it might look like a harmless expression of affection or apology when the flowers and gifts start arriving with a carefully worded apology, pleading for you to forgive or come back. So why does it cause such fear and concern?

It may seem like a coincidence to others that he seems to be at the same place as you again..and again, but you know it is no coincidence. You see him everywhere you go and it starts to make you, not only paranoid, but terrified.

Your friends mention that someone keeps asking questions about you on facebook and you see little signs that someone is tapping into your messages, pictures and posts. Worst yet, you are getting message after message, espressing affection or interest from someone you either dated before or who wanted to date you. The more you tell them you aren’t interested the more contact you get. But thats not dangerous, is it?

Stalking is a ‘willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested”. It is a common behavior for a abuser to monitor a dating partner or former partner who has tried to end the relationship, and coerce them to stay in the relationship and under their control.

Stalking is seen in many differnet forms. It can be when a person follows or appears within sight of the targeted victim. When they approach or confront the targetd victim in a public, private place, appear at the workplace or the home of the targeted victim it is stalking. When you get constant calls or texts, even when you have asked not to be contacted or don’t answer calls it is stalking.

Cyberstalking is a fast growing way of using the internet or other medium to stalk someone. Facebook and other online sites and seard engines, discussion boards and chat rooms can be used without the victim ever knowing they are being stalked.

Stalking is often a precursor to violent behavior. Many states have anti stalking laws; they often are not a help until after something happens that has previously not been identified as ‘stalking’ or ‘abuse’.

When a Song Says it All…

Music about love, relationships, marriage and ‘happily ever after’ just seem to make us feel good. But some music contain lyrics that promote behaviors and relationships that are anything but good or happy. Some promote violence, hate, racism, prejudice or abuse.

Sometimes words aren’t enough to convey the feelings violent relationships bring out in those affected by it.

Have you ever caught yourself singing along with a song or hear someone else sing the words and you say ‘wait is THAT what this song is about”?This song by  Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is NOT just a song, it is a powerful message. Hopefully you will never hear it the same way again.

Take Another Look

Do you know someone who is in a violent or potentially violent relationship? If you don’t, you will. In reality you  probably do, but just aren’t aware of it.

Perhaps you do but you just CAN’T understand how they got into this mess. Admit it, do you say to yourself (and maybe to others) “what is wrong with them, why do they stay”?

Are you in a violent relationship? Hoping, even praying, that today will be different, that today he/she will stop hurting you?

Is there someone you see everyday you think is in trouble but you don’t want to interfere? How often do we hear someone say “I just didn’t want to interfere” or “I just didn’t know”, when something tragic happens?

Once you see something amiss, do something!

Tell a room-mate or friend you notice unhealthy things happening and that you are there for them; encourage them to talk to someone and help them find resources for information

Say something..say anything that shows  you care even if you don’t understand. There is an old saying “until you have walked in their shoes you can’t feel their blisters”!! Just remember, dating violence is NEVER acceptable.

If you are being hurt in anyway,today can be the day you ask for help. You don’t deserve what is happening to you. Speak up for yourself by telling someone you trust what is going on.

Don’t just LOOK but SEE what is going on around you


10 Signs of Abusive Behavior

No one wakes up one day and says,  “I think I’ll  date someone who is abusive””

No one dreams of falling in love with someone who will be violent.

There are  behaviors that can be ‘red flags’ in relationships.


In the past red flags have been used to signal sickness, storm, battle or danger. In dating a red flag is a warning. It is a sign that something in the relationship, the person or the situation, is unsafe or undesirable. If you recognize a ‘red flag’ in a relationship, don’t ignore it.


1. Jealousy: may even accuse you of flirting or ‘cheating’ on them

2. Constantly checks up on where you are, who you’re with and what you’re doing. These are all signs of controlling behavior

3. Gets angry or insulted easily

4. Quick Involvement; may pressure you to commit to them, pushes thing to happen quickly and intensely

5. Tries to isolate you from friends and family: resents others you spend time with

6. Mood swings that cause some anxiety about how you should act around them

7. Puts you down or calls you names; sometimes said in a joking way

8. Blames their problems or feelings on you or others

9. Hypersensitive; easily insulted, feels that life is unfair to them

10. Forces or pressures you into sexual behavior; “playful” touching, manipulates by sulking

(*If a person consistently shows two or more of these behaviors there is potential for abuse)

3 Signs almost always seen in someone who is violent in relationships

1. Use of any force during an argument or disagreement: May involve holding someone down, pushing, shoving, restraining someone from leaving

2. Threatens you or someone you love with harm or violence

3. Throws, breaks or strikes things/objects

Things Aren’t Always What They Appear To Be

You see them holding hands and snuggling everywhere. “They are so in love” you say, just look at them! But Things aren’t always what they appear to be when someone is in a dating relationship.

  • Girls age 16-24 are more vulnerable than any other age group for relationship violence….true or false?  TRUE
  • One in five college students will experience some form of dating violence….true or false?  TRUE
  • 40% of high school girls know someone their age who has been hit or injured by a boyfriend….true or false?   TRUE
  • Both girls and boys are victims of violent relationships in dating, but they are usually abusive in different ways….true or false?   TRUE
  • 94% of violence on female victims is from a current or former boyfriend….true or false?   TRUE
  • It can happen to you or someone you care about…true or false?   TRUE

Violent and abusive relationship’s are seldom what they appear to be. Abuse isn’t always obvious. Even parents and close friends are often un-aware of it.

And that is sad but true!