Sexual Misconduct Reporting & Referral Forms
Healthy relationships are based on equality and respect. Characteristics of healthy relationships include:
- Respect. You value each other as you are, including cultures, beliefs, opinions, and boundaries.
- Good Communication. You talk openly about problems without shouting or yelling. You listen to one another, hear each other out, respect each other’s opinions, and are willing to compromise.
- Trust. You believe what each other is saying. Trust is there, and has been earned.
- Honesty. You are honest with each other, but can still chose to keep certain things private. You both recognize the importance of being honest regarding things that affect or involve your relationship, but still know that it is okay for you to keep certain things private and you do not have to share them with your partner.
- Equality. You make decisions together, and hold each other to the same standard.
- Consensual Sexual Decisions. You talk openly about sexual and reproductive choices together. You both willingly consent to sexual activity and can freely, and respectfully, discuss what you are and are not comfortable with. If you are having sex, you discuss possible risks and benefits together, including pregnancy, STIs, and impacts on your relationships. Together you decide how to address these things, such as through condoms and other birth control methods.
- Personal Space. You enjoy spending time together, but can happily spend time apart. You respect when one of you needs space.
Unhealthy relationships are based on attempts to control another person. Characteristics of unhealthy relationships include:
- Not Communicating. When problems arise, you may fight, or avoid talking about it. You do not listen to the other or try to compromise.
- Disrespectful. One or more partners are not considerate of each other, or do not treat each other in a way that shows that you care.
- Not Trusting. Trust has not been earned or established. You do not believe what the other is saying. There is suspicion that your partner is doing things behind your back, or your partner is suspicious of your loyalty without reason.
- Dishonest. You lie to each other.
- Unequal. One or more partners feel their needs are more (or less) important than the other’s. One partner may try to make most of the decisions. One or more partners is focused only on getting their own way.
- Feeling Crowded or Not Spending Time Apart. Partners only spend time with each other. One partner may begin to feel uncomfortable. Or sometimes both partners spend so much time together that they ignore friends, family, or other things that used to be important to them. Or your partner’s community may be the only one you socialize in.
- Pressuring the Other into Sexual Activity. One partner uses pressure or guilt on the other to have sex or do anything sexual at any point. One partner may try to convince the other that the relationship should become more sexual.
- Ignoring Consequences of Sex. Partners may be consenting to sexual activity with each other, but are not communicating about boundaries or possible consequences.
Abusive relationships are based on an imbalance of power and control. Characteristics of abusive relationships include:
- Hurtful Communication. One partner communicates in a way that is hurtful, threatening, insulting, or demeaning.
- Mistreatment. Your partner intentionally and continuously does not respect your thoughts, feelings, decisions, opinions, or physical safety.
- Jealousy. One partner suspects flirting or cheating without reason, and falsely accuses the other, often harming their partner verbally or physically as a result.
- Denial. The violent or verbally abusive partner denies or minimizes their actions. They may blame the other for their behaviors.
- Complete Inequality. There is no equality in the relationship. One partner makes all of the decisions without the other partner’s input. If the other partner tries to change something, abuse may increase.
- Isolation. One partner controls where the other one goes, who the other partner sees and talks to. You spend all of your time together, and feel like you cannot talk to other people. You have no personal space, and are often isolated from other people altogether.
- Non-consensual Sexual Activity. One partner forces intimacy and/or sexual activity without consent. The how, when, and where of sexual activity is determined by only one partner. Threats and violence are used prior to and during sexual activity. In relationships where pregnancy is a physical possibility, one partner may force the other to become pregnant. The abusive partner may control decisions and usage of birth control methods.
*Information adapted from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Adolescent Health, Love is Respect, and Catalyst Domestic Violence Services.