- Forceful behavior: pushing, shoving, hair pulling, kicking, yanking by the arm, pinning someone against a wall or on the floor.
- Rape—intercourse in which one individual is not a consenting participant—or any kind of forced sex.
- Threatening with knives, guns, or other lethal weapons.
It can also include:
- Driving recklessly, abandonment in a dangerous place, or putting a partner in any position that may jeopardize his or her safety.
- Emotional abuse, such as threats, intimidation, humiliation, name calling, vicious criticizing, or other similar behaviors.
Dating violence (including rape) isn’t about love and it isn’t about sex—it’s about anger and control. Though it may be difficult to believe, people who commit violence, including date rape, often feel powerless inside, and may feel shame, humiliation, and frustration as a result.
Tips for staying safe:
- Always let someone (parent, sibling, friend) know where you’ll be, and with whom.
- Find out as much as possible about a person, or group of people, before going out with them.
- Stay away from alcohol and drugs. They cloud your judgment and may make you incapable of understanding the seriousness of a situation.
- When a situation becomes uncomfortable, trust your intuition. Keep your options open by driving your own car, or calling a parent or friend for a lift.
- Avoid isolated places.
- Anticipate a plan of action if you find yourself pressured for more sexual contact that you would like. You always have the right to say NO.
- Take a course in self-defense. In the event that saying “no” isn’t enough, it is important to know how to protect yourself.
Be on the lookout for these signs of danger
A person or relationship may be heading for violence if one partner believes that:
- Others like to be dominated or controlled
- A little pushing around doesn’t matter, especially if no one gets hurt
- A refusal for sex isn’t to be taken seriously, “They mean ‘yes’ even when they say ‘no’.”
- Others like physical or emotional pain
- Jealousy is a sign of love
Remember that the person who acts violently toward another in a dating or social relationship is 100% responsible for his or her actions. The victim is never to blame.