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Relationship and Dating Violence

Relationship or Dating Violence

includes physical,verbal and/or psychological maltreatment which can include demeaning comments, controlling behavior (telling someone what to do, wear, whom to see, etc…), threats of/or actual physical harm. These abusive behaviors are used to assert power or control over another person. The effect is to make the person feel degraded, ashamed or scared.

What is a 'Healthy' Relationship?

Healthy Relationships

Unhealthy Relationships

Equality: Partners Share decisions and responsibilities. They discuss roles to make sure they are fair and equal. Control: One partner makes all of the decisions and tells the other what to or tells the other what to wear or who to spend time with.
Honesty: Partners share their dreams, fears and concerns with each other. They tell each other how they feel and share important information. Dishonesty: One partner lies or keeps information from the other. One partner steals from the other.
Physical Safety: Partners feel physically safe in the relationship and respect one another space. Physical abuse: One partner uses force to get his or her way (for example, hitting slapping grabbing or shoving)
Respect: Partners treat each other like they want to be treated and accept each other's opinions, friends and interests. They listen to each other. Disrespect: One partner makes fun of the opinions and interests of the other partner. He or she may destroy something that belongs to the other partner.

Comfort: Partners feel safe with each other and respect each other's differences. They realize when they are wrong and are not afraid to say, "I'm sorry." Partners can "be themselves" with each other.

Intimidation: One partner tries to control every aspect of the other's life. One partner may attempt to keep his or her partner away from family and friends or threaten violence or a break-up.
Sexual Respectfulness: Partners never force sexual activity or insist on doing something the other isn't comfortable with. Sexual Abuse: One partner forces the other into sexual activity against his or her will or without his or her consent.
Independence: Neither partner is dependent on the other for an identity. Partners maintain friendships outside of the relationship. Either partner has the right to end the relationship. Dependence: One partner feels he or she "cannot live without" the other. He or she may threaten to do something drastic if the relationship ends.
Humor: The relationship is enjoyable for both partners. The partners laugh and have fun. Hostility: One partner may "walk on eggshells" to avoid upsetting the other. Teasing is mean-spirited

Adapted from the Choose Respect Action Kit, Center for Disease Control and Prevention


Progression of Relationship Violence


Physical Abuse

Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Pinch / Squeeze

Joking about habits / making insults Sexual jokes
Push / Shove Ignoring partner's feelings Sexual objectification
Shake / Jerk Withholding approval as punishment Jealousy
Slap Yelling Minimizing partner's feelings and needs regarding sex
Bite Name-calling Criticizing partner sexually
Push / Shake / Slap that Bruises Calling partner a "sell-out" Unwanted touch
Punch / Hit Repeated insults / labeling Withholding sex and affection
Kick Threatening to "out" partner Sexual labels like "whore" or
Choke Humiliation in private Always demanding sex
Throwing Objects Ridiculing partner's gender identity Forcing partner to watch sexual acts with others
Targeted physical blows to a specific part of the body Humiliation in public Demanding sex with threats
Use of household objects as weapons Blaming for all faults Forcing sex
Throwing persons Threats of violence / retaliation Forcing sex with others
Restraining and physical blows

Putting down partner's ability to act on their own behalf

Forcing uncomfortable sex
Abuse that requires medical treatment Hiding / Destroying partner's adaptive equipment Forcing sex after beatings
Use of conventional weapons Demanding all of partner's attention / restricting contact with others Sadism

Abuse that leads to disfiguration or disability

Unpredictable consequences or actions Murder


Attacking sense of reality