Dating Violence

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're with, and what you're 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 don't 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 and kissing

  • Forcing you to have sex

  • Not letting you use birth control

  • Forcing you to do other sexual things


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 physical violence only occasionally; others, more often.


If You Are a Victim of Dating Violence You May Feel:


Being a victim of dating violence is not your fault. Nothing you say, wear, or do gives anyone the right to hurt you.

  • Think it's your fault.

  • Feel angry, sad, lonely, depressed, or confused.

  • Feel helpless to stop the abuse.

  • Feel threatened or humiliated.

  • Feel anxious.

  • 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.


  • If you think you are in an abusive relationship, get help immediately. Don't keep your concerns to yourself.

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

  • If you choose to tell, you should know that some adults are mandated reporters. This means they are legally required to report neglect or abuse to someone else, such as the police or child protective services. You can ask people if they are mandated reporters and then decide what you want to do. Some examples of mandated reporters are teachers, counselors, doctors, social workers, and in some cases, coaches or activity leaders.

  • If you want help deciding whom to talk to, call a crisis line in your area. You might also want to talk to a trusted family member, a friend’s parent, an adult neighbor or friend, an older sibling or cousin, or other experienced person who you trust.

©2018 by Counseling / Guidance Department