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Dating violence

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Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors exerted by one boyfriend/girlfriend over their partner in order to gain or maintain power and control.


Dating violence can take many forms.

  • Physical - Physical abuse includes grabbing, pushing, shoving, slapping, pulling hair, pinching, punching, or kicking.

  • Verbal/Emotional - Verbal and emotional abuse include insults, threats, constant monitoring of what the victim is doing, isolation, and stalking.

  • Sexual - Sexual abuse occurs when one partner forces or coerces the victim into sexual activity or takes away the victim's ability to make choices about sexual activity. This includes rape and other forms of sexual assault, hiding or taking away birth control, and posting nude or sexually explicit photos or videos of the victim.

  • Digital - Digital abuse occurs when a boyfriend/girlfriend uses technology to abuse or stalk the victim.  This includes sexting, cyber-bullying, posting "revenge porn", and logging into the victim's e-mail or social networking accounts to either pose as the victim or get information.

Dating Violence and Teens

A 2006 Teen Dating Violence Study conducted by the Fifth & Pacific Companies (formally Liz Claiborne Foundation) and Teenage Research Unlimited (TNU) found the following:

  • One in five teens who have been in a relationship report being hit, slapped, or pushed by a partner.

  • Nearly one in four girls who have been in a relationship (23%) report going further sexually than they wanted as a result of pressure.  

  • Nearly two-thirds of teens who have been in  a relationship report they were with someone who "acted really jealous and asked where they were all the time".

Dating Violence and College Students

A 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll conducted by Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc. and Knowledge Networks had some alarming findings:

  • Over one in five college women (22%) report actual physical abuse, sexual abuse or threats of physical violence.

  • 43% of dating college women report experiencing some violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, digital, verbal or controlling abuse.

  • One in three (36%) dating college students has given a dating partner their computer, email, or social network passwords and these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse.

Additional Resources About Dating Violence

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