Relationships, safety and sisterhood: kappa detta social essentials guide The social scene on college campuses is one in which women can grow, thrive and have fun together. It can also present challenges as students learn to navigate new relationships. Sexual violence is a reality many of our members face. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), one in four women will experience a form of sexual violence while in college. As a part of Kappa Delta's ongoing efforts to offer members education and resources on important issues, the sorority recently provided the Social Essentials Guide to every collegiate member and chapter advisor across the country. Excerpts from the guide that are included in this article are meaningful and useful for women of all ages. Written by Aaron Boe of Prevention Culture, the Social Essentials Guide is an e-manual designed to educate, provide resources and prompt discussion on sexual assault, bystander intervention, healthy relationships and more. The manual is accessible via mobile device, making it easy for members to open at any time. Chapter officers were provided with accompanying information to facilitate workshops and conversations on the topics. The programming ideas are flexible, and the guide provides members with relevant content they might not be receiving elsewhere. Kappa Delta encourages the ongoing use of this resource in hope it will have a positive impact on our members' confidence and their ability to establish healthy relationships. Unhealthy & Abusive Behaviors Emotional abuse and manipulation • Threatening a breakup to manipulate and get one's way • Accusing partner of being "too sensitive" when partner reacts to being treated cruelly • Playing on insecurities and saying their partner "can't take a joke" • Threatening suicide or self-harm • Using silence as a mind game verbal abuse • Name-calling • Cruelty, meanness • Belittling • Demeaning • Embarassing partner on purpose in front of others Isolating behavior • Keeping partner from healthy relationships with family and friends • Insisting that their partner end Friendships Technology • Demanding access/ passwords to accounts • Monitoring and tracking where their partner is and controlling who they can and can't be with • Pressuring to take and send sexual Photos Physical abuse (Threats, Intimidation & Force) • Threats of physical harm • Destroying personal property • Preventing a partner from leaving a room by blocking the door • Pushing or shoving • Physical force of any kind, even if it's not slapping or hitting • Squeezing arm, towering over or any actions used for intimidation Physical abuse (Sexual) • Insensitive to partner's comfort level and feelings about engaging in a certain act • Pressure to engage in a sexual act • Attitudes and behaviors other than absolute concern for partner's enjoyment and mutual respect of physical intimacy Seven characteristics of a healthy relationship 1). FRIENDSHIP Each person likes the other as a whole person and respects many qualities and character traits in that person. Beyond feelings of physical attraction and love, they have fun and enjoy spending time together aside from the physical aspect. 2). RESPECT DURING CONFLICT It is important to think about what a healthy relationship would look like even during challenging times. Differences and disagreements will eventually arise, even in the best relationships. In a healthy relationship, each person handles conflict in a productive way. Each person treats the other with at least a basic level of respect and consideration for their thoughts and feelings, even when they disagree or are angry with each other. 3). EQUAL RIGHTS In a healthy relationship, each person treats the other as an equal. Even though two people are different, each person has the same basic rights in the relationship and as an individual with a life outside of the relationship. Neither person believes in controlling the other. When they have differences and disagreements, they discuss them. Each person has the same rights to share their opinions and to have wishes heard without being belittled or demeaned. 4). MUTUAL SUPPORT In a healthy relationship, couples support each other and encourage each other's pursuit of goals and healthy aspirations. Neither person works to limit the other from pursuing healthy activities or goals. It can be difficult, for example, to fully support a partner who wants to pursue a goal such as studying abroad or going to graduate school in another state, but healthy discussion of the challenges these endeavors might cause is important. A mature partner supports growth and openly addresses change in the relationship. 5). FREE OF FEAR Neither person is afraid of the other, even during arguments or times of conflict. Beyond not engaging in acts that would evoke fear or intimidate, neither person would want the other to be fearful of physical harm or verbal cruelty. 6). HEALTHY INDEPENDENCE Neither person tries to control the other, and both have the right to express their feelings and be heard if they ever feel they are being controlled or manipulated by the other. Healthy independence is respected, and when one person questions the other's interest in activities outside the relationship, it is expressed openly and respectfully. Technology is used only to connect, not to control. 7). PHYSICAL INTIMACY IS HEALTHY & MUTUAL Both people have concern for the other's comfort, emotional enjoyment and health in the physical aspect of the relationship. Neither pressures the other to engage in unwanted acts. In summary, each person is confident in their own basic rights and the reality of those rights is respected by the other. Six concepts on supporting a friend 1). When a friend has been sexually assaulted/abused, it is OK to not know how to handle things. Simply respond as a caring friend and listen without judgment. 2). Offer to go with your friend for medical help and to talk with a counselor or rape crisis advocate on campus. Support her in any way that she may need. 3). Honest and simple statements such as, "I'm glad you told me" or "Thank you for telling me" or " I believe you," can be very helpful. 4). Understand that you cannot understand. It is best to avoid saying that you do understand what another person is going through. It is better to be there for emotional support, to be a friend who listens and who encourages her to see that this is not her fault. 5). Do not pressure your friend to report or to not report sexual assault/abuse. It is important for her to feel supported in her decision, not pressured. A person whose wishes have been disregarded in a very disturbing way does not need anyone else neglecting to respect her wishes. 6). Encourage your friend to talk with a professional counselor if she is not already seeing one. And, if she is willing to do so but is not sure where to go, help her find a counselor. Your campus should have a well-trained, caring professional to speak with her. The counselor should also know of additional resources on campus or near it that can be very helpful. If, however, the first people you speak to do not seem to be as helpful or sensitive as they should be, keep looking. Do not assume one unhelpful experience means counseling is not the right thing. Keep looking until you find one who understands sexual assault and is good at working with survivors of it. For additional content and an online forum go to Pandora's Project at pandys.org. Aaron Boe, M.S.Ed., is the founder of Prevention Culture, a consulting firm that specializes in preventing interpersonal harm and equipping young people for healthier personal lives. As a fraternity man, he sees the fraternity and sorority community as a natural place to empower women and men to optimize their social lives and personal relationships and make a difference in the world around them. Aaron earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana University. For more information, visit www.PreventionCulture.com.
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