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About Relationship Violence

Dating/domestic violence can be loosely defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, and gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationship and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating. (NCADV, 2007).

Warning Signs

Although it is difficult to correctly identify who will and who will not perpetrate violence upon another person, below describes common abusive actions and personality characteristics of those who perpetrate violence.

Abuse in relationships: Does your partner (boy/girlfriend, spouse, date) do the following:

  • Control what you do, who you see, talk to, where you go, or what you wear
  • Call you names, insult you, or constantly criticize you
  • Try to isolate you from family or friends
  • Humiliate you and embarrass you with insults
  • View women as objects and adhere to strict gender roles and responsibilities
  • Often accuse you of cheating, flirting, or "wanting" another man/woman's attention and display jealous tendencies
  • Force you to have sex even when you're sick, tired, hurt or simply don't want to
  • Push, slap, bite, kick, squeeze, or choke you
  • Smash, throw, or break things to intimidate you
  • Make you think the abuse is no big deal and not a big deal
  • Make you ask permission for all things including money
  • Use threats to leave or threats to commit suicide or harm her/himself if you leave
  • Display weapons as a way to intimidate you
  • Look at you or act in certain ways that scare you
  • Talk, text, or IM you constantly

If you said yes to even one of these, you may be in an abusive relationship!

What you might hear or say…

  • "My boyfriend would always tell me that he was the only person I needed in my life."
  • "My boyfriend makes all the decisions about what we do. I feel like I have no say in any matter."
  • "He always puts me down in front of other. He would tell me how stupid I was and call me names like slut or fat ass."
  • "My girlfriend has a short temper and will lash out at me, but then apologize the next day."
  • "My boyfriend would constantly call me, text me, and email me just to see where I was and who I was with."
  • "My boyfriend accused me of cheating every time I talked to another guy."
  • "My girlfriend threatened to kill herself if I broke up with her."
  • "We had sex whenever he wanted to, even if I didn't."
  • "Whenever I did something he didn't like or even if I looked at him the wrong way, my boyfriend would hit me."
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