Dating/partner violence is a pattern of behaviors between individuals who are or have been involved in an intimate relationship in which an individual inflicts emotional, financial, psychological, sexual and/or physical harm to his/her partner to assert power and control. Dating/partner violence is abuse within an intimate relationship regardless of marital status and does not depend on whether the couple lives together. It happens in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Some behaviors within dating/partner violence are considered criminal.
Dating/Partner violence can seem sudden or may escalate over time. Actions or threats may include:
- constantly insulting or putting down partner and/or humiliating partner in public or in front of loved ones
- coercing or forcing partner to engage in unwanted or nonconsensual sexual acts
- controlling partner’s movements or decisions and/or finances
- threatening partner bodily harm or harm to loved ones or pets
- using physical violence such as choking, pushing or hitting
- stalking partner before, during or after the end of a relationship
- continuous repeated attempts to communicate with partner via phone, emails, social media, internet, etc.
Victims can experience more than one type of abusive behavior. The majority of women (66%) who experienced stalking also experienced physical violence by their intimate partner.1 Fifty-seven percent of the rapes experienced by college students happened on dates.2 This shows that sexual assault and/or stalking can sometimes be components of dating/partner violence.
1 Katrina Baum et al., Stalking Victimization in the United States, (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009).
2 Warshaw, R., (1994). I Never Called it Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.
What can you do if you or someone you know is a victim of dating/partner violence?
- It is important to seek support to understand what your options are and talk about how the incident(s) impacted you. Contact NOVA’s Sexual Assault Services (SAS) by calling or texting 703.338.0834 (24 hours a day) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive support. Being violated sexually is a crime and against NOVA student conduct policy. For more information on NOVA’s obligation under Title IX to address instances of sexual misconduct, see the Title IX Policy on Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking.
- You have the right to file a police report or to file a complaint with your Dean of Student’s office or the Title IX Coordinator.
- Go to a safe place and seek medical attention, if needed. If you are a victim and need shelter, call NOVA SAS at 703.338.0834. We can give you referrals to local resources.
- In case of an emergency, first call 911 or notify campus police at 703.764.5000.
- If you are a victim of dating/partner violence, know that the abuse is never your fault and there are resources available to help you.