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What’s Dating Violence?


Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that one person uses to have control in a relationship with someone else. The abuser uses feelings of fear, humiliation, and degradation to control the other person. Abuse is not limited to physical abuse. Types of abuse include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, spiritual abuse, and financial abuse. Any of these types of abuse can create an unhealthy and/or violent relationship. Victims and abusers can be anybody. Statistically, most victims are women and most abusers are men, but not all. Men can be abused and women can be abusers. Dating violence is also not limited to heterosexual couples. It can happen in both gay and straight relationships.

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Download a PDF of the brochure at the bottom of the page.


Statistics

Research has shown that physical and/or sexual abuse happens in 1 in 3 high school relationships.
In the world, 1 in 3 women have been or will be physically or sexually abused in their lifetime.
About 28% of high school and college students experience dating violence at some point.
40% of girls ages 14-17 know someone their age who has been hit by someone they were dating. 70% of female rape victims and 74% of male rape victims knew the person who raped them.

Reality Check

How can you tell if you are in an abusive relationship? Answer these questions and find out.
Does the person you are dating hit you?
Are they jealous or possessive or are they constantly checking up on you and wondering where you are?
Are they really mean sometimes and then really sweet other times?
Do they try to control whom you talk to or where you go?
Do they scare you or threaten you?
Do you feel forced into sexual activity?
Do they threaten to commit suicide if you leave them?
Do they embarrass you or put you down in front of people?
Do they call you names, insult you, or make you feel bad about yourself?
Do they promise to never hurt you again or say that it’s no big deal?
Do they blame you for their abusive behavior?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you might be in an abusive relationship and may need to seek help. Call (505) 246-9240 or 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-799-HELP).

Myths vs. Facts

MythShe must have brought it upon herself. FactNo one ever deserves to be abused.

MythOnly females are abused.
FactAlthough 90-95% of victims of abuse are women, there are still men who are abused. Not         
        all abusers are men either, though 95% of them are.

MythHe’s not hitting me so he’s not abusing me.
FactAbuse happens in many ways. Abuse can be emotional, spiritual, and even financial.            Put-downs and insults are just as abusive as hitting.

MythHe just can’t control his temper.
FactIf that were true, he’d be hitting everyone who ever made him mad, such as coworkers or 
        friends. If he just hurts you, it isn’t his temper.

MythIt’s not that bad, just a bruise.
FactAbout 30% of all female murder victims are killed by husbands or boyfriends. Bruises can 
        turn into broken bones, fractured skulls, or worse.

MythDating violence only happens in heterosexual couples.
FactThe prevalence of domestic violence and dating violence is the same for homosexual 
        couples as it is for heterosexual couples- approximately 25%.


Personal Safety Tips

If the person you are dating is abusing you in any way, it is not your fault. Abuse doesn’t end just because your boyfriend or girlfriend says it will stop. It only gets worse. It is very important that you get help. It is also important to follow these safety tips.
If you cannot leave the relationship safely right now or if you decide to stay in the relationship:
  • Go out with your partner to public places
  • Make sure your friends or family know where you are going
  • Take a self-defense class
  • Spend time with people other than your boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Stay involved in or start doing activities you enjoy
  • Try not to be alone with your partner
  • Tell your friends, counselors, parents, or a trusted adult what is going on
  • Keep important numbers with you, such as numbers for the police, friends and family, and domestic violence hotlines
  • Take money with you when you go out with your partner so you don’t have to rely on him/her for a ride or if you need to call someone
  • Develop code words to use to alert friends or family that you are in danger
  • Write down all incidences of violence, but be sure to keep them in a place that your partner cannot find it
If you have left or are leaving your boyfriend/girlfriend:
  • Break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend in a public place
  • If you feel scared or think your ex will come after you, get a restraining order and give copies to the police, your school, your work, and any other place you spend time at
  • Make sure your friends and family know you are no longer in the relationship and if you can, let them know what is going on in case your ex tries to find you
  • Change your routine, such as school schedule, when you get home from school, and when you work, if possible
  • Try not to be alone, especially with your partner
  • Avoid walking home from school alone and being in isolated areas

Recognizing Abuse and Helping a Friend
    Abusers and victims can be anyone. And most likely they are not going to come out and tell you that they are being abused by or are abusing their significant other. They themselves may not even recognize what is going on since abuse does not always happen physically. These are some traits that victims and abusers may exhibit to help you recognize an abusive relationship.
Traits of Victims
  • Becomes isolated from friends and family
  • Spends majority of time with boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Give up important things like sports to spend time with boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Constantly worries about making their boyfriend/girlfriend angry
  • Shows signs of physical abuse, such as bruises or cuts
  • Is pressured into sex
Traits of Abusers
  • Checks in on boyfriend/girlfriend constantly
  • Blames boyfriend/girlfriend for his/her own problems
  • Insults and/or makes fun of boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Blows disagreements out of proportion
  • Abuses alcohol and/or drugs
  • Tries to control what their boyfriend/girlfriend does
Another place to find good information on recognizing and stopping dating violence is www.seeitandstopit.org.
If you think someone you know is being abused or is an abuser, get help before it gets any worse. Call (505) 246-9240 or 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-799-HELP)
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Zack Freeman,
Dec 7, 2012, 9:00 AM