Relationship and Dating Violence

Relationship and dating Violence refer to a pattern of coercive and abusive tactics employed by one partner in a relationship to gain power and control over the other partner. It can take many forms, including physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, and emotional, sexual or economic abuse. 

Violence often starts with little things that can be denied, ignored, or forgiven. But, from there, a pattern of violence can grow quickly.

Warning Signs:

  • Exhibits jealousy when you talk to others.
  • Tries to control where you go, whom you go with, what you wear, say, or do.
  • Attempts to isolate you from loved ones. May try to cut you off from all resources, friends, and family.
  • Uses force or dominance in sexual activity.
  • Degrades or puts you down. Runs down accomplishments that you achieve.
  • Acts like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. May be kind one minute and exploding the next; charming in public and cruel in private.
  • Threatens to use physical force. Breaks or strikes objects to intimidate you.
  • Physically restrains you from leaving the room, pushes, and/or shoves you.
  • Has hit other partners in the past but assures you that the violence was provoked.


What to Do

  • Notice how you feel. Are you depressed? Do you feel more free to be yourself when your partner is not around?
  • Notice what you do. Do you find yourself making excuses for your partner? Do you spend less time with friends and family? Do you change how you act to avoid making your partner angry?
  • Talk to friends. Often a friend or family member can see things more clearly. Do they see abuse in your relationship?

Take Steps to Stay Safe

  • Be clear about behavior you won’t accept and stick to your limits.
  • Trust your feelings. If something feels uncomfortable, pay attention.
  • Have a support system. Stay in touch with friends, family, and/or a counselor.
  • Avoid drinking and drug use.