Dating Violence – Facts You Should Know
Dating violence happens when one partner in a relationship abuses the other.
Dating violence is about power.
Whether through words or actions, the abuse is meant to control or hurt another person.
It’s very common.
Chances are, someone you know has been a victim of dating violence. Most (but not all) victims are women.
The effects can be serious.
They can be:
Victims may come to view abuse as a normal part of relationships.
- physical (bruises, broken bones)
- emotional (depression, low self-esteem)
But abuse is never normal!
Dating can be a positive part of your life.
Good dating experiences can help you learn about:
- yourself – who you are and who you want to be
- others – and the qualities that are most important to you.
In a healthy relationship, both people:
- trust and respect each other
- are fair, open and honest
- feel free to share thoughts and ideas
- accept that even healthy relationships don’t always work out.
But when dating involves abuse, there’s no chance for a healthy relationship to develop.
Dating violence can take many forms.
And in many cases, it’s a crime.
Emotional and verbal abuse may include:
- keeping a person away from family, friends or interests
- insults and threats
- controlling a person – how to dress, what to do, what to buy
- using technology (cell phones, e-mail, texting, online social networks) to control, monitor, or harass a person.
Physical abuse may include:
- punching, kicking, shaking, slapping or choking
- attacking with a weapon
Sexual abuse is rape or any other kind of unwanted sexual comment, advance contact.
Abuse is never the victim’s fault.
Abusers often blame the other person for “causing” the abuse. But the only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser!
You always have the right to say no to sex.
This is true even if you’ve had sex before. And remember, you never “owe” anyone sex.
Abuse often follows a pattern.
After the abuse, the abuser may make excuses or apologize. He or she may promise to stop and be extra nice. But abuse usually happens again and gets worse over time.
You can reduce the risk of dating violence.
Let your partner know that you won’t tolerate abuse. Share your sexual limits early and clearly.
Stay in control.
Don’t use alcohol or other drugs. Have your own way home and a cell phone, just in case.
Trust your instincts.
Get to know someone before going out alone with him or her. Or, go out with a group.
Be careful of dating people who:
- put down others often
- are aggressive, physically verbally
- abuse alcohol or use other drugs
- want to always be in control
- get very angry or jealous
You can end an unhealthy relationship.
- If you’ve been physically hurt, get medical help. If you fear you’re in danger, call 9-1-1 right away.
- Talk with a friend, family member or health-care provider.
- Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at:
- 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)
- 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
- Make a plan to end things safely. Contact the services above.
- Resist the temptation to give the person one more chance.
If you know a victim of dating violence:
- Believe and support the person. Listen without judging.
- Encourage the victim to get help.
You deserve to have a happy, healthy relationship!
The above information was obtained from the Dating Violence Facts You Should Know brochure, Channing Bete Company, Inc. 2011 Edition.
A special thanks to the Verizon Foundation for making this project possible.