Beware of red flags in your relationships
Published On December 5, 2022 » 2039 Views» By Times Reporter » Features
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•THERE is need to ensure that women and girls are protected and treated as equal partners in relationships.

By Jessie Simengwa-Ngoma –

When things are not going right in a relationship, it is important to recognize or identify danger signs sooner rather than later as this can work to resolve issues or end the relationship before anyone gets intimate partner violence is a serious problem that has continued to affect society.
The warning signs or indications are things that may appear in a date or marriage that could give one a problem in future.
This violence usually takes the form of physical, sexual and psychological behaviour, including coercive acts, and can happen to anyone regardless of their status.
Studies show that men are most often the perpetrators of violence in intimate relationships and women and children are often the victims.
This is evident from the police that showed 8,790 cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV), which were recorded countrywide during the third quarter of this year in which 6,303 were criminal cases.
It is these signs that can help us assess the condition of our relationships, and addressing the warning signs can save us from the partner violence and passions of crime we keep witnessing in our communities.
For instance, lack of finances have been observed as one of the causes of stress in marriages or while dating, due to poor spending and mismanagement among some partners. Whether we like it or not, money matters touch everything.
They impact people’s lives and when this is absent or not managed well in relationships, issues of money lead to some of the bad outcomes we are seeing in society.
If your partner decides to be silent when questioned about his extravagant spending or poor management of funds while you are dating, it will be difficult to sustain the relationship with that individual in future and this must be a warning sign for you to know something is not right.
Red flags in a relationship include excessive jealousy and frequent lying, a partner who frequently criticises you or puts you down, unwillingness to compromise, and other things.
It is important to note that not all the dangerous indicators are signs of abuse.
What is important is a healthy relationship based on respect and mutual understanding for both partners.
Reflecting on this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV), held under the theme, ‘Unite Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls’, it is important for everyone in a relationship or already in marriage to be safe from all forms of violence.
Today, you may think you are dating the perfect woman or man.
Your family and friends love them and in no time, you decide to commit yourselves.
Yet few months later, violence erupts, leading to devastating consequences.
A Ndola based marriage counselor said women and girls can only be safe if they identify the warning signs in the early stages of their relationships as this can also save them from the many cases of violence and abuse being reported.
Sepiso Monde said, “We have seen more victims speaking out about the violence and abuse that is happening in their relationships, but statistics tell us there is still no unity.” Ms Monde said the unfortunate part is that this is happening when some partners are physically abused and others have lost their lives.
“We need women and girls to identify the red flags when they are dating or in their few years of entering marriage as these will save as indicators of avoiding passions of crime and uncontrolled anger we are witnessing. Look at our female students in learning institutions who have to be forced in having sex on a first date or have to give in
to sex for fear of failing an exam,” she said.
Ms Monde said there are also cases of partner with overwhelming hints of cheating who never seem to repentant about their actions and turn abusive or violent every time they are confronted about their actions.
“Some partners are serial liars who started while dating. How can they be trusted to be faithful in a relationship if they can easily lie about anything in their life? All these are red flags we ignore,” she said.
The marriage counsellor said it is such signals that should alert someone not to be in denial as nothing has changed.
“It is only the intolerance of his lies and cheating you accepted while dating,” she said Ms Monde said there is no doubt that the genesis of problems in relationships start while people are dating, but normally they ignore the signs.
She said for partners to have unity, it entails one must be safe and being alert to the signs that are not healthy for a relationship before committing oneself to marriage.
She also said even if your partner has not hurt you physically yet, but threatens you, this should be equally be treated as dangerous and it may be a sign of a partner being a potential abuser.
Ms Monde said some warning signs can seem petty or be perceived as caring yet dangerous when repeated consecutively and if not addressed, they may lead to unhealthy relationships.
She cited a situation where a partner sends you messages every hour of the day, questions your whereabouts even when you have explained yourself and expects you to respond every time.
“Such insecurities or jealousy of an overly possessive partner must have a natural limit as this can lead to an unhealthy relationship where some partners have been stopped from pursuing their careers or businesses. The problem we have is women and girls in relationships realise they are being abused when the relationship becomes toxic. We need marriage counselors who can include the aspect of GBV when counseling couples entering into marriage,” she said.
She said there is need for to raise more awareness in training colleges and universities to equip both the young women and young men about identifying abuse, violence and help them prepare for healthy relationships to avoid cases of suicide and killings of partners making headlines in the news.
“The perpetrator’s motive of abuse and violence in such situations is intentional as this is the means to gain and maintain control over another intimate partner,” Ms Monde said.
GBV is a threefold matter where power struggle, gender inequality and lack of human rights is at play.
Therefore, victims must be aware of any warning signs that they encounter in relationships.
As we continue to raise awareness and observe the 16 Days of Activism Agaisnt GBV, we need to ensure that women and girls are protected and treated as equal partners in relationships.
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