Emergency Shelter: 405-701-5540 | Rape Crisis: 405-701-5550

Dating Violence

___________________________

Dating abuse is defined as physical, emotional, verbal, sexual violence, or stalking in a dating relationship. Dating abuse can occur in person or electronically and can occur between current or former dating partners. A violent relationship may have one type of violence or many forms of violence, but a relationship with any violence can lead to severe outcomes. The different types of abuse can look different in every relationship, but all can have long-term effects.

Knowing the warning signs of an abusive relationship and what a healthy relationship looks like is a great way to prevent relationship violence; however, relationship abuse can happen to anyone and it is never their fault.

It is possible someone might not even know they are in an abusive relationship if they don’t know the signs or the different forms of abuse! Listed below is some of the signs to look for of a violent relationship.

  • Being isolated from friends and family
  • Squeezing your hand
  • Throwing things at you when upset
  • Being physically hurt
  • Having big fights often
  • Telling lies/spreading rumors about you
  • Threatening to hurt themselves
  • Driving recklessly while you are present
  • Cheating
  • Forcing you to engage in sexual activities
  • Being unable to control your own feelings and emotions
  • Partner telling you how to dress
  • Partner choosing who you can speak to
  • Changing your behavior to appease your partner
  • Feeling nervous or anxious when your partner gets upset
  • Being made to feel guilty
  • Being put down or humiliated in public by partner
  • The feeling that you can never do right in the relationship
  • Partner having strong beliefs about gender roles
  • Being threatened
  • Partner accuses you of things you have not done
  • Partner feeling like they have the right to touch you however they want
  • Feeling manipulated or controlled
  • Not having access to your own money
  • Blame you for how they treat you
  • Extreme changes in mood towards you
  • Belittling
  • Squeezing your hand
  • Throwing things at you when upset
  • Being physically hurt
  • Having big fights often
  • Telling lies/spreading rumors about you
  • Threatening to hurt themselves
  • Driving recklessly while you are present
  • Cheating
  • Forcing you to engage in sexual activities
  • Being unable to control your own feelings and emotions

 

What can you do if you think a friend might be in a violent relationship?

As a friend, you might just know when something feels “off”. Trust your gut, but also be very careful in addressing your friend. When someone is in a violent relationship it is a very fragile time in their life. The most injuries usually occur when someone is trying to leave a violent relationship.  Have a plan when confronting the situation, remain calm, and do not address the abuser. Remember, you cannot make your friend leave a violent relationship. The best thing you can give your friend is support and love; those are two things that the abuser has taken away from them.

If your friend discloses an abusive relationship to you there are very crucial steps you must take.

  1. Always believe their story– Listen to what your friend is saying. This is not   a time for “I knew it” and “I told you”. Be kind and loving. Telling you may be the first time your friend has felt safe in a very long time. Ask your friend if it is okay to hug them before doing so. A hug from you may be the first loving touch they have felt in a while.
  1. Tell them they do not deserve what happened to them– Your first response to your friend is very critical. They are already feeling ashamed and like it is their fault, they do not need you to confirm that through questions like “Why did you let that happen to you” or “why didn’t you tell me sooner?”. Thank your friend for trusting you with this information and tell them that nothing is their fault and they did not deserve what happened.
  1. Let them make their decision about the relationship– While telling your friend that they should not be in this relationship; it is not your choice to make. This can be the first decision they have made in a long time due to their partner controlling their life. Go over what abusive relationships look like and your concerns, but let your friend decide what they are going to do about the situation. Be supportive no matter what they decide.
  1. Make a safety plan– Regardless of what your friend decides it is important to make a safety plan with them. This can be done through identifying how they are going to leave the relationship, where they are going to go, and making sure they have a safe place. Remember, most severe injuries usually occur when someone is leaving a violent relationship. Make sure to give local resources to your friend at this time.
  1. Be there– the last step is simple, just be there. Even if your friend doesn’t want to talk, be supportive. Do not spread rumors about what your friend has told you, they are trusting you with this information. Leaving an abusive relationship does not make everything better, after the relationship is when the real work begins. Continue to check on your friend and let them know you care.