KNOW if It's Abuse
WHAT IS DATING VIOLENCE?
Dating violence is a pattern of harmful behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.
Types of violence can vary and include emotional, verbal, financial, digital, physical, and sexual abuse. Each type is serious, and no one deserves to be the target of any form.
To learn more about the different types of abuse, visit loveisrespect.org .
Dating Violence Statistics
THE POWER AND CONTROL WHEEL
How to Tell if a Relationship is Based on Power and Control
When most people think of domestic or dating violence, physical and sexual attacks or threats are obvious signs that come to mind. But the regular use of other harmful behaviors also constitute violence, and all combine to form a larger system of abuse.
The Power & Control Wheel below is a helpful way to understand the pattern of behaviors and tactics that an abuser will use to exert power and control over a partner.
KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS
Relationships exist on a spectrum (see this tool from loveisrespect). It can be difficult to know when behavior crosses the line into being unhealthy or abusive.
KNOW the warning signs of dating violence to better identify abusive relationships. Knowledge is the first step to helping someone you know stay safe from abuse.
Warning signs of dating violence include:
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Checking your cell phone or social media accounts without permission
- False accusations
- Being possessive
- Explosive temper
- Mood swings
- Repeatedly putting you down
- Driving a wedge between you and your family or friends
- Telling you what you can and cannot do
- Constantly pressuring you to have sex
- Physically hurting you in any way
DIGITAL ABUSE AND SAFETY
Digital dating violence is the use of technology, including texting and social media, to abuse a dating partner.
If you are feeling threatened or suffocated by your partner, or if your partner says or does things through technology to frighten or manipulate you or to lower your self-esteem, you may be in an unhealthy, and potentially abusive, relationship.
You may be experiencing digital dating violence if your partner:
- Tells you who you can or can't be friends with on social media sites.
- Steals or demands your passwords.
- Frequently looks at your phone calls, texts, photos, emails, etc.
- Uses social networking to constantly keep track of you.
- Insists you stay connected at all times and must always be reachable.
- Texts or contacts you incessantly.
- Sends or posts negative/threatening messages to or about you online.
- Sends you unwanted inappropriate content online and may demand or pressure you to send something in return.
- Puts you down through social media.
No one deserves to be treated this way, online or off. Your partner should respect your boundaries and your privacy.
Visit loveisrespect.org for Social Networking Safety tips.
Text Messaging and Dating Violence
Texting is one of today's most popular methods of communication. It is instant, convenient, and fun. But it is important to know how to stay safe and healthy as users of this technology.
Does your partner text you too much? Does he or she ask to read your texts, or do so without asking? Does your partner ever ask for or send inappropriate content through text, or use text messaging to threaten you?
Healthy relationships are built on kindness and trust, not jealousy, insults, anger, or threats. Remember, you have the right to:
- Need space
- Spend time alone
- Spend time with friends and family
- Turn off your phone or otherwise disconnect from technology (just make sure a parent or guardian can reach you in an emergency)
- Talk to and be friends with whomever you'd like
- Keep your passwords and communications private
Visit loveisrespect for more information about texting and relationships .
Feel like your current or ex partner is using technology in abusive ways? KNOW what to do:
- Don't answer calls from unknown or blocked numbers.
- Don't respond to hostile or inappropriate calls, texts or messages. Responding can encourage the person to continue contacting you. Your replies can also get you into trouble and even make it difficult to get a restraining order or file a criminal report.
- Consider blocking numbers that the person uses to contact you.
- Update the privacy settings on your social media accounts; un-friend the person.
- Avoid "checking-in" through social media.
- If the abuse persists, consider changing your phone numbers, email addresses, and other digital accounts.
- Save or document harassing communications. For more information about how to document abuse, visit this resource from loveisrespect.
It is often difficult for someone outside of a relationship to understand, but it is very hard to end an abusive relationship. Sometimes, the person you know who is experiencing dating violence may not be ready to do so or isn't sure how.
One way to help someone who is being abused stay safe is to create a personalized, practical plan that helps them avoid dangerous situations and identify the best measures to take if they are in danger.
Help the person KNOW what to do, and empower them to make smart, safe choices when abuse occurs. Visit loveisrespect for an Interactive Guide to Safety Planning .
Want to write it out instead? Download loveisrespect's High School or College safety planning guide.
Here are some tips when creating a plan to help keep someone safe:
- Listen and be supportive. Allow the person to make their own decisions.
- Don't judge, blame or belittle. The person's partner may be putting them down regularly, and their self-esteem may already be low.
- Connect the person to resources and information in their area.
- Don't post about the person on social networking sites. Never use these tools to reveal their current location or where they hang out. Click here for more information about digital safety.
Finally, don't give up, even though trying to help can be frustrating. Those experiencing dating violence need strong support systems in order to end their abusive relationships. Read more about support systems at loveisrespect.org.
Am I a Good Boy/Girlfriend?
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