Dating violence

What is dating violence?

This term is used when a pattern of controlling behavior of a partner is evidenced in a relationship. The abusive behavior can be incremental over time resulting in the abused partner being isolated from others or made to feel incompetent, ashamed or guilt-ridden. The abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual or any combination thereof. Dating violence often starts with teasing and name calling. These behaviors are often thought to be a "normal" part of a relationship. But these behaviors can set the stage for more serious violence like physical assault and rape. Leaving this kind of relationship is extremely difficult, often requiring counseling and a great deal of support.

Dating Violence Survey



Who commits dating violence?

Anyone can commit dating violence. Perpetrators can abuse their partners in various ways. Acts include yelling, threatening to hurt themselves, pinching, slapping, scratching, kicking, injuring their partner and forcing them to participate in unwanted sexual activity.

Who are victims of dating violence?

Anyone can be a victim of dating violence. Both men and women can experience dating violence, as well as people of every ethnicity, age, culture, religion, economic background and sexual orientation. Click here to read about various victim experiences and needs.

How prevalent is dating violence?

  • Victims are often unaware that they are in an abusive relationship.
  • Approximately 70 percent of college students say they have been sexually coerced.
  • Only 33 percent of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse. 

Warning signs of dating violence

Additional resources

For contacts and support systems visit our Resources page.

Last Updated: 6/18/15