For Parents For Women

Dating Violence: What It Is and How You Can Tell

What is Dating Violence?
Teen dating violence is a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or a boyfriend. It’s not just hitting or other physical violence: it includes put-downs, intimidation, jealousy, and other kinds of behavior.

No relationship is perfect, and everyone gets angry or jealous sometimes. What makes it abuse?
In a healthy relationship, both people have an equal say in how they spend their time together. Each person’s thoughts and feelings are important and valued. They respect and like each other for who they are, the way they are. Relationship Abuse, or Dating Violence, occurs when a person feels that they need to maintain Power and Control over their partner. The relationship is no longer equal, and behavior is used to keep the other person “in check”.

What kinds of behavior?
Abusive behavior comes in several forms. None of these behaviors show respect or love, and none are present in healthy relationships.

Physical
Kicking, punching, shoving, slapping, pushing, scratching, choking, disrespectful touching, use of physical strength to intimidate/threaten, and any other act which assaults your body.

Sexual
Calling you sexual names, criticizing your body parts, wanting sex after hitting, acting indifferent during sex, fear of saying “no”, threatening to get a new girlfriend, painful or unsafe sex, forced or pressured sexual acts, including rape.

Emotional & Verbal
Intimidating you, scaring or threatening you. Calling you names, yelling, putting you down, and other assaults against your self-esteem. Being blamed for your partners’ own faults.

Psychological
Acting in ways that leave you feeling as if you are “going crazy”.

What is the Cycle of Violence?
On the Oprah show (April 17, 2003) a teenage girl was in an abusive dating relationship. The guest speaker, Dr. Jill Murray, told her with great detail what her relationship was probably like. The teenager was amazed: she said that was EXACTLY what was going on, and wondered how she could possibly know. Dr. Murray wasn’t psychic; she simply knew about the Cycle of Violence, which occurs in EVERY abusive relationship.