What Is Dating Violence?
Dating Violence is the physical, sexual, emotional, and/or verbal abuse of one partner by the other partner in a current or former dating relationship. Abusive behavior is any act carried out by one partner aimed at hurting or controlling the other. Dating violence happens in male/female relationships as well as in lesbian and gay relationships.
A violent relationship means more than being hit by the person who claims to love or care about you. Violence is about power and control. When someone uses abuse and violence against you, it is always part of a larger pattern to try and control you.
Violence is against the law!
Regardless of the abuser's age, it is against the law for anyone to:
- Hurt you
- Try to hurt you
- Force you to have sex
- Threaten you with weapons
- Harass you on the telephone or though the mail
- Stalk you
- Destroy things that belong to you.
Learn about yourself. Take time to think about who you are, who you want to be and how you want others to see you. Learn about building trust, respect and affection for yourself and others.
Learn about others. Find out what kind of person you want to spend time with. What are the qualities you like in a person? What is most important to you in a relationship?
Include family and friends. Good and vibrant relationships welcome interactions with family members and with friends of both parties. Good relationships are inclusive, not isolating of others.
Foster respect. Respecting thoughts and ideas, needs and wants of both people make relationships safe and fun. In healthy dating, both people make decisions about the relationship together.
Support each other. In a healthy relationship, you and your partner feel good about yourselves and the relationship. You can talk with each other about problems; you have fun together; you trust each other. In good relationships, neither partner is afraid of the other. You want what is best for yourself and the other person.
Make your feelings clear. It may seem easier at times to go along with what your date wants even if you don't feel the same way. But you can't have a healthy relationship with a partner who doesn't respect or know what you really think.
How do you know if you are in a hurtful relationship?
The best way to tell whether someone may be abusing you is to look at the way you are treated. Think of your relationship and ask yourself the following questions.
- Does my date ever hit, slap, shove, kick, or restrain me?
- Does my date ever threaten to hurt me?
- Does my date call me names or insult me?
- Does my date become jealous if I talk to or go places with other people?
- Does my date make me tell where I am at all times?
- Does my date blame alcohol or drugs as the reason for becoming angry and losing control?
- Does my date ever touch me without my permission or force me to have sex against my will?
- Does my date threaten to commit suicide if I try to leave the relationship?
- Am I afraid to disagree with my date?
- When I spend time with other people does my date become angry and accuse me of cheating?
- Do I avoid seeing friends or doing things because I'm afraid my date will get angry?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you are involved with a potential batterer. Even though most people think that violence in relationships happens only between married persons, the same kind of violence also happens between people who are dating regardless of their sexual orientation.
Even if you are not being hurt physically, verbal and emotional abuse are just as painful and often lead to physical violence.
Dating someone is never worth being hurt or feeling afraid.
Tips On Avoiding Bad Relationships
- Make clear to your partner how you expect to be treated. Let your partner know you will not tolerate any kind of abuse.
- Be honest in your communications
Avoid Dangerous situations
- Avoid places where you'll be alone until you get to know your partner. Double-date or hang-out together with other friends.
- Let someone know what your plans are for the evening.
Be in control
- Don't be helpless or "in debt" to a dating partner.
- Have your own way to get home.
- Pay your own way.
- Don't use alcohol or other drugs. These substances can severely hamper your ability to think clearly and act quickly if you find yourself in a dangerous situation.
- Think twice about going out with someone who:
- Often puts down men or women with comments such as, "Girls are so stupid." or "Guys are such jerks."
- Uses alcohol or other drugs.
- Enjoys pornography and looking at "dirty pictures."
- Wants to be in control of where you go, what you do, who you see, etc.
- Gets angry and aggressive very easily.
- Uses physical force (squeezing, pushing, etc.).
- Drives recklessly especially with you in the car.
If you are in a bad relationship.
Discuss your concerns. It is never too late to make your feelings clear with your partner. If expressing your concerns leads to more abuse, get help.
Trust your gut. If you have concerns about someone you're dating or want to date, trust you feelings. If the person refuses to discuss your concerns, you should refuse to go out with them.
Believe in yourself. It's common to question whether the abuse took place, whether it was really "that bad," and whether it was your fault, but it's important to stand by your feelings. If you feel you were abused, then you were abused.
Think of your safety. Abusive relationships tend to get worse, not better. Resist the temptation to give the person "one more chance." Realize that by the time you are asked for "one more chance" you have likely already given your partner numerous chances. Refuse to take phone calls and to return messages from the abuser.
Break the silence
- Talk with someone. Tell a parent, relative, friend, trusted adult, school nurse, doctor, minister or school counselor.
- Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline. 1-800-799-SAFE
- Call The Rape and Incest National Network. 1-800-656-HOPE
- If you've been physically or sexually hurt, get medical attention.
- If you fear you'll be hurt, call the police.
- Consider getting a legal protection order.
- Call the domestic violence program or rape crisis center in your area.
Getting a Protection Order
IF YOU ARE UNDER 18 you may be able to get a protection order with the help of an adult. A protection order states that your abuser may not hurt, harass or come into contact with you for 90 to 180 days. An adult begins this process by filling out a family violence petition on your behalf in the magistrate clerk's office. In the petition, she or he must explain why you need the protection and what kind of protection you need. The petition should describe the violence that the abuser did or threatened to do. Even if you have a protective order, you must also take steps to protect yourself.
Within five days, a hearing will be scheduled. Here, you will answer questions about the abuse, the abuser will answer questions and the magistrate will decide whether to give you a protection order.
Call the police. Having a protection order does not guarantee your safety if the abuser dose not obey the protection order.
What Can I Do To Help A Friend?
- Believe your friend. Victims need to know they will not be doubted, or blamed for the abuse. Assure you friend of confidentiality.
- Support your friend. It's not always easy to admit there's a problem. Get information from the local domestic violence program or rape crisis center.
- Be there for your friend as your friend goes through the hard work of questioning and making decisions. Encourage your friend to get help and get out of the relationship.
- Suggest options for your friend. Often, a victim of abuse will feel there are no choices. Help your friend think of ways to overcome fears and concerns.
- Know when you are in "over your head" and seek professional help from the community. Your life as well as the life of your friend is important.
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