Dating violence is the physical, psychological or sexual abuse of one partner by the other in a dating relationship where the couple is not living together.

Abusive relationships have good times and bad times. Part of what makes dating violence so confusing and painful is that there is love mixed with the abuse. This can make it hard to tell if you are really being abuse. Unfortunately, without help, the violence will only get worse.

Myths About Dating Violence:

Myth: Jealousy is a sign of love.

Fact: Jealousy is the most common reason for assaults in dating relationships. When a man continually accuses a woman of flirting or having an affair, and is suspicious of everyone he sees with her, he is possessive and controlling.

Myth: I can tell if a guy is going to be a “hitter” just by looking at him.

Fact: Abusers come in all sizes and shapes. They are not the stereotypical muscle-bound thugs portrayed in the media. They are in the classroom, at a dance, or living next door.

Myth: It’ll never happen to me!

Fact: Dating violence can happen to you. It is not limited to a particular social class, or any single ethnic or racial group. Some women are victimized on their first date while others are assaulted after dating for a long time. Everyone is at risk.

Myth: Men have the right to expect sexual favors if they pay for dates or if they have a long-standing relationship with a woman.

Fact: This myth is particularly persistent among teenagers. In fact, it is unreasonable to expect sex in return for initiating and paying for dates. And not every long-term relationship has to lead to “going all the way”. Sex must be voluntary, and both partners have to agree on when they are ready.

Avoiding a bad relationship

Communicate Clearly

  • 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 your friends.
  • Let someone know what your plans are for the evening.

Be in control

  • 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.

Be careful – Think twice about going out with someone who:

  • Often puts down men/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 easily.
  • Uses physical force.
  • Drives recklessly especially with you in the car.

Are you being abused?

  • Are you frightened by your partner’s temper?
  • Are you afraid to disagree?
  • Are you constantly apologizing for your partner’s behavior, especially when they have treated you badly?
  • Do you have to justify everything you do, every place you go, or every person you see just to avoid your partner’s anger?
  • Does your partner put you down, but then tells you that they love you?
  • Have you been forced into having sex when you didn’t want to?
  • Are you afraid to break up because your partner has threatened to hurt you or themselves?

Are you being abusive?

  • Will not let your partner talk to other guys, even if they are friends. You are very jealous.
  • Continually criticize what your partner wears and what she/he does.
  • Likes to scare him/her by driving fast or doing reckless things. You think its funny but they don’t.
  • Want to know where she/he is and whom she/he is with at all times.
  • Tell other people about things she/he did or said that embarrasses them or make him/her feel stupid.
  • Get “carried away” during horseplay and hurt her/him or hold her/him down and makes her/him feel helpless until she gives in or feels humiliated.
  • Become very angry about trivial things. (i.e. he/she is not ready on time or he/she is wearing the “wrong” clothes)
  • Criticize her/his friends and tell him/her to stop seeing them
  • Are often depressed or withdrawn, but won’t talk about your feelings.
  • Come from an abusive home.
  • Become angry or violent – particularly when using alcohol or drugs.
  • Force her/him to do anything sexually that they do not want to do – by using physical force, put downs, threats to leave, or other emotional pressures.
  • Continually tell her she is stupid, lazy, fat, ugly, "a slut" and so on
  • Have rigid ideas about what men and women should be and do expect her/him to agree with these ideas. Believe that the man makes the decisions and the woman pleases the man.
  • Make degrading jokes about women or display interest in other women to make you girlfriend scared, upset or jealous.
  • Make threats about hurting her, her friends or pets or family, or threatening suicide if she doesn’t do what you want or say. Or if you have EVER been violent, no matter how sorry you felt afterwards.
Adapted from Teen Abuse by Interval House of Hamilton-Wentworth.