Dating violence is controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It can happen in straight or gay relationships. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination.


Controlling behavior may include:
  • Not letting you hang out with your friends

  • Calling or paging you frequently to find out where you are,
    whom you are with, and what you are doing

  • Telling you what to wear

  • Having to be with you all the time

Verbal and emotional abuse may include:
  • Calling you names

  • Jealousy

  • Belittling you (cutting you down)

  • Threatening to hurt you, someone in your family, or himself or herself
    if you do not do what he or she wants


Physical abuse may include:
  • Shoving

  • Punching

  • Slapping

  • Pinching

  • Hitting

  • Kicking

  • Hair-pulling

  • Strangling


Sexual Abuse May Include:
  • Unwanted touching or kissing

  • Forcing you to have sex

  • Not letting you use birth control

  • Forcing you to do other sexual things


“The person I’m with scares me sometimes.”

Anyone can be a victim of dating violence. Both boys and girls are victims, but boys and girls abuse their partners in different ways. Girls are more likely to yell, threaten to hurt themselves, pinch, slap, scratch, or kick. Boys injure girls more and are more likely to punch their partner and force them to participate in unwanted sexual activity. Some teen victims experience violence occasionally. Others are abused more often, sometimes daily.

If you are a victim of dating violence, you might…
  • Think it’s your fault

  • Feel angry, lonely, depressed, or confused

  • Feel helpless to stop the abuse

  • Feel threatened or humiliated

  • Not know what might happen next

  • Feel like you can’t talk to family and friends

  • Be afraid of getting hurt more seriously

  • Feel protective of your boyfriend or girlfriend


Get Help
  • Being a victim of dating violence is not your fault.

  • Nothing you say, wear, or do gives anyone the right to hurt you.

  • If you think you are in an abusive relationship, get help immediately.

  • Talk to someone you trust like a parent, teacher, school principal, counselor, or nurse.

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