Dating and Domestic Violence
An Unhealthy Relationship...
is a relationship in which one person uses physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to gain power and control over the other person. This is often referred to as Dating Violence or Domestic Violence.
Tactics of Control
Dating Violence is more than hitting. It is a pattern of abusive behavior used to threaten, frighten, injure and control another person. Over time, abusive behaviors increase in frequency and severity. Physical abuse in a relationship rarely starts out as severe violence. It's subtle. Some behaviors which show the possibility that a dating partner may eventually become physically violent include:
- extreme jealousy
- blaming others for their problems
- never being about to admit wrong doing
- cruelty to animals
- holding extreme beliefs about men and women and relationships. (ex: Man is the decision-maker of the relationship and the woman is supposed to please him.)
Look over the following questions.
Does Your Partner...
- embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends? Family? Teachers?
- put down your accomplishments or ideas?
- use intimidation or threats to get his/her way?
- call you names and yell at you?
- use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
- grab, push, kick, pinch, shove, or hit you?
- pressure you sexually for things you aren't ready for?
- call several times at night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
- prevent you from going or doing things you want - like hanging out with friends or wanting to be by yourself?
- make you feel like there "is no way out" of the relationship?
- make you feel like everything that doesn't go right is your fault?
- sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
- constantly make excuses to other people for your partner's behavior?
- believe that your partner will change if only you change something about yourself?
- try not to do anything about yourself?
- try not to do anything that will make your partner mad?
- feel like no matter what you do, your partner is never happy with you?
- always do what your partner wants instead of what you want?
- stay with your partner only because you are afraid of what your partner will do if you break-up?
If any of these things are happening to you in your relationship, talk to someone to learn more about dating violence. It may be time to seriously evaluate the safety in your relationship.
You Do Have Choices.
Making decisions about relationships can be a difficult struggle. It can be the most dangerous time for women when leaving an abusive relationship, so it is very important to plan for safety.
It is a good idea to find people in your community who understand abuse and can help you make a plan for staying safe. If you are not sure about the resources in your community, call the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association at 502-695-2444 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
- You can call your local crisis line at 1-800-585-2686.
- You can attend a support group.
- You can tell friends, family, teachers, counselors, or any other adult who may help you.
What to do if your friend is in an abusive relationship:
- Tell them it's not their fault.
- Tell them they don't deserve it.
- Listen to them without judging them.
- Believe them and let them know that you do.
- Help them recognize that what's happening is NOT normal.
- Don't blame them for the abuse or decisions; leaving an abusive relationship is hard and usually takes a long time.
- Give them good information about abuse. You can call your local crisis line and get information and support.
You've got the Power...
Dating can help you...
LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF
Dating gives you a chance to examine who you are and who you want to be. You can also learn about trust, respect, and affection.
LEARN ABOUT OTHERS
Dating helps you find out what kind of person you want to spend time with. You learn about the qualities you admire in a person and those qualities that matter less.
In a Healthy Relationship, Both Partners...
treat each other with respect, support each other's goals in life and expect each other to have independence. People have their own opinions, feelings, friends and activities.
In an equal relationship, decisions are made together. Both partners can make compromises, admit mistakes, and communicate openly and truthfully.