Dating violence is physically, emotionally, or sexually abusive behavior in a dating relationship. It happens in both gay and straight relationships, and is often characterized by aggressive and controlling behavior towards a partner.

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There can be several components to the abuse, and they include each of the following:

  • Verbal and emotional abuse

Threatening harm to the partner or someone they love, unless they do as they’re told

Belittling a partner and name calling

Unprovoked jealousy or a sense of ownership

  • Controlling behavior

Deciding what a partner can wear

Telling a partner where they’re allowed to go

Calling, texting, paging, frequently or constantly checking up

Not allowing a relationship with friends and family

Stalker-like behavior

  • Physical abuse

Shoving, hitting, kicking, pulling hair, and choking

It can also involve throwing things at the victim or hitting them with objects

In escalated cases, weapons like guns and knives can be used

  • Sexual Abuse

Unwanted kissing or touching

Forced sexual relations

Forced sex of a type the partner doesn’t want

Anyone can be a victim, and it is not based on gender. Females are more likely to yell and scream, pinch, scratch, slap, and kick. Men are usually much stronger and can hurt women much worse- they are more likely to punch them or force unwanted sexual activity on them.

Victims often feel it’s their fault, and are often told that by their abuser. They can feel sad, confused, depressed, and angry, but also helpless and humiliated. It can be a love-hate relationship with “honeymoon periods” afterwards, so the victim remains committed to trying to make things better.

Consider these alarming statistics, as they apply to young people:

Over 30% of teenagers have been victims of dating violence.

50 to 80% say they know others who’ve been involved in violent relationships.

15% of teenagers report being the victim of severe dating violence.

Young women between 16 and 24 years old suffer the most at the hands of abusers.

Get help

If you are being abused, it is NOT YOUR FAULT! No matter what you do, what you say, or what you wear gives another person the right to put their hands on you in a violent manner.

Get help immediately if you are suffering dating violence. Don’t keep this to yourself.

Speak with someone who you trust and will help you, like friends, family members or parents, teachers, a doctor or nurse, etc.

Know that when you tell some people, that are sworn to report the abuse to authorities. (Teachers, doctors, social workers, counselors, sometimes even athletic coaches.)

If you need help deciding who to talk to, call a domestic violence helpline where you live.

Protect yourself

Make a plan for getting out of a violent situation. Think about what to do, who to call, or where to go for help ahead of time.

When going out, tell your family where and when you’re coming home.

Have important phone numbers handy- people to call or places to go in an emergency.

Always have a cell phone or spare change ready for instant communication.

Double date or go out with groups instead of alone.

Always have money stashed in case you need it for a cab, bus, or subway to get away from a bad situation.

In emergency situations, call 911.

Help Others

You can help if you know someone who is being abused.

Tell them how worried you are about their safety.

Listen when they need someone to talk to.

Offer your support.

Ask them how you can help.

Encourage them to get help and get out of the relationship.

Learn more about dating violence. There are often escalating patterns of behavior.

Avoid confronting the abusive partner. This can be dangerous to both you and the victim.

Hopefully, you are not now in an abusive relationship. If you are, get help and get out!  Here is another article that may be of interest to you, and talks about building healthy relationships.

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