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Dating/Partner Violence

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?

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