Dating and Relationship Violence Myths
Examples of Violence
- Physical Violence includes kicking, pinching, hitting, choking, biting, shaking or otherwise using physical force to restrain or hurt a partner. Other examples include withholding access to necessary medical equipment or medication.
- Emotional Violence (or “verbal abuse”) includes using humiliation, name-calling, “crazy making,” intimidation, isolation and threats of physical force or threats against one’s family, friends, or pets, or threats of suicide. This may also include destroying or stealing property – including textbooks, cars, etc. and harming pets. Other examples include threatening to take away children, to reveal secrets or private information about a person, or to mock tradition, culture, gender identity or different abilities.
- Sexual Violence is forcing a partner to engage in sexual acts against one’s will. Examples include forcing a partner to view pornography or have sex when ill or just after giving birth.
- Economic Abuse includes withholding financial resources to intimidate, threaten or control a partner. Examples are: spending financial aid money, forcing a partner to work to pay all the bills, or not allowing them to work to further isolate them or ruining someone’s credit.
Dating & Relationship Violence Myths and Facts
MYTH:College students do not have to worry about becoming victims of dating or relationship violence because violent relationships only happen in marriages.
FACT: An abusive or violent relationship can happen to anyone in an intimate relationship regardless of marital status. Relationship violence can occur in teen dating as well as between adults who have been married 25 years. Battering is the single most common cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the US—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (Surgeon General, United States, 1992) · Women age 16 to 24 were the most vulnerable demographic group to non-lethal intimate partner violence between 1993 and 1999. (NCVC, 2000)
MYTH: Jealousy is a sign of love or devotion.
FACT: Jealousy becomes a problem when one person uses it to control another person. When someone displays possessiveness, is suspicious of everyone in his/her partner’s life, and continually accuses his/her partner of flirting, having an affair their behavior may be abusive, not signs of love.
MYTH: When a partner hits someone, they must have provoked the behavior in some way.
FACT: No one deserves to be hit. Whether or not there may have seemed to be provocation, violence is not a solution, but rather silences a victim. There are always nonviolent options, including walking away from an argument or fight.
MYTH: If people wanted to leave abusive relationships – they could.
FACT: Most victims want the violence they are experiencing to end – but not their relationship. A person may stay because of children, he/she believes his/her partner will change, or because he/she still loves his/her partner despite the violence. There can be many barriers to leaving too, such as lack of a safe place to go, concerns about children, lack of money to move out, fear of escalating violence, social or physical isolation from supportive people, shame or threats of suicide and/or homicide.
MYTH: “Name calling” doesn't’t hurt anyone. A relationship is not about abusive if there is no physical violence.
FACT: Emotional abuse and humiliation, such as name-calling, lowers a victim’s self esteem, sometimes permanently. Abuse in its many forms can be just as hurtful and damaging as physical violence.
MYTH: I can tell if someone is abusive just by looking at them. Relationship and dating violence will never happen to any of my friends or to me.
FACT: There is no stereotype of an abuser. Abusers can be men or women, thin, tall, short, athletic, etc.; they can be a classmate, a neighbor, or a friend of a friend. No one plans to or expects to be the victim of dating or relationship violence. It is not limited to a particular social class, ethnic or racial group. Some people are victimized on their first date while others are assaulted after dating for a long time. Greater than one in five women and about one in 14 men report that they were physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or date in their lifetime. (US Department of Justice, National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000).
However, there are some behaviors that you can look for which are “red flags.” An abuser may...
- Seem overly sensitive, attentive and jealous – not letting his/her partner go out, keeps track of how long he/she is gone or goes everywhere with him/her.
- Want a serious commitment early in the relationship, be highly critical of his/her partner, and express derogatory attitudes towards women.
- Resent or undermine his/her partner’s outside life, disrupt studying.
- Exhibit violent behavior to animals and children, to other drivers in cars, picking fights, etc.
- Use stress, drugs or alcohol as an excuse for violence.
- Espouse traditional gender roles expecting the victim to serve him/her.