Dating violence is physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a romantic or sexual partner. It happens to women of all races and ethnicity, incomes, and education levels. It also happens across all age groups and in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Some people call dating violence domestic abuse, especially when you live with your partner.
Dating violence includes:
Emotional and verbal abuse - yelling, name-calling, bullying, isolating you from your family and friends, saying you deserve the abuse or are to blame for it, and then giving gifts to “make up” for the abuse or making promises to change.
Sexual assault and rape - forcing you to do any sexual act you do not want to do or doing something sexual when you’re not able to consent, such as when you’ve been drinking heavily.
Physical abuse - hitting, shoving, kicking, biting, throwing objects, choking, or any other aggressive contact.
It can also include forcing you to get pregnant against your will, trying to influence what happens during your pregnancy, or interfering with your birth control.
Some signs of dating abuse include:.
- Forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to
- Telling you that you owe them sex in exchange for taking you out on a date
- Acting overly jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating
- Being extremely controlling, such as telling you what to wear, forbidding you from seeing friends and family, or demanding to check your phone, email, and social media
- Constantly checking in with you and getting angry if you don’t check in with him or her
- Putting you down, including your appearance (clothes, makeup, hair, weight), intelligence, and activities
- Trying to isolate you from other people, including by insulting them
- Blaming you for the abusive behavior and listing the ways you “made him or her do it”
- Refusing to take responsibility for their own actions
- Apologizing for abuse and promising to change again and again
- Having a quick temper, so you never know what you will do or say that may cause a problem
- Not allowing you to end the relationship or making you feel guilty for leaving
- Threatening to call the authorities (police, deportation officials, child protective services, etc.) as a way to control your behavior
- Stopping you from using birth control or going to the doctor or nurse
- Committing any physical violence, such as hitting, pushing, or slapping you
None of the behavior described above is OK. Even if your partner does only a few of these things, it’s still abuse. It is never OK for someone to hit you or be cruel to you in any way.
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