It is always amazing to see how many Mount students are invested in philanthropy events and projects. Just last week, Alpha Chi Omega ran a week-long event to raise awareness of and educate students about a topic that is quite often overlooked: healthy relationships.
“The goal of this year’s Healthy Relationships week was all about mutual respect, and how mutual respect is a cornerstone of a healthy and safe relationship,” says ACO philanthropy chair, Olivia Whitacre. “We posted a bingo board this whole week on our social media accounts and collected donations that will go to the Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter. This is such a great cause and people were so generous!”
Alpha Chi tabled outside of the cafeteria to raise awareness. Students were able to stop by on their way to the cafeteria and write down what “Love Is…” to them on little paper hearts. This helped students think about what is important to them in any relationship. Additionally, an informational tri-fold covered in hearts contained valuable information on what a healthy relationship looks like.
What does a healthy relationship look like anyway? Whitacre says that all relationships, both platonic or romantic, require effort to keep them healthy. It is important to focus on continuous communication with your friend or partner. Try to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and always regard each other’s personal boundaries. In healthy relationships, people learn the difference between healthy conflict and destructive fighting. Healthy conflict is respectfully discussing issues before they escalate and validating the others feelings about the issues without judgement or anger.
What about signs of unhealthy relationships? Whitacre has an excellent response for this as well.
“Unhealthy relationships are based on one person’s attempts to control the other. This behavior can easily escalate into an abusive relationship.”
If a friend or partner blatantly disregards the other person’s personal boundaries or will not stop belittling them, something probably is not right. Invading their space, belittling and dismissing them, lacking attentiveness, always needing to be right and constantly cancelling plans are just a few other clear signs of disrespectful and destructive behavior in any relationship.
Sometimes, getting out of a relationship is the toughest part. What can someone do if they suspect a friend is in a bad relationship? Whitacre suggests a few things.
Check-in on those you care about and ask if things are going well.
Practice good listening by giving the friend an opportunity to talk and feel safe. If someone confides in you that something is happening to them, you should thank them for telling you.
Let them know you are there for them.
Assure them that what is happening to them is not their fault.
Emphasize that they have power and choices– since every unhealthy and abusive relationship hinges on one person holding all the power and control.
You can also always encourage them to seek out help, whether that be through a counselor or a help-line. There are always counselors and hotlines available to help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233) offers personal support and help 24/7. To talk to peer advocates, people can go to loveisrespect.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Well done, Alpha Chi! Thank you for advocating for such an important cause and educating the student body on healthy relationships. Keep up the great work!