Relationship, Dating or Intimate Partner Violence



Dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence, also called domestic violence, in which the violence occurs when two people know each other and have been involved in a relationship.  This can include people in a current or former relationship.  Research reveals that often the violence is psychological well as physical.  The violence can also be financial, spiritual, verbal, emotional, or sexual.  Dating violence occurs in both straight and gay/lesbian relationships. 



  • In one study 32% of college students reported dating violence by a previous partner and 21% reported violence by a current partner (Sellers & Bromley, 1996). 
  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2001), one in three dating relationships will be involved in at least one incident of violence in the course of their relationship. 
  • Women are at greatest risk for intimate partner violence and young women ages 20-24 are the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence (Catalano, 2007).
  • One out of four US women has been physically assaulted or raped by an intimate partner while one out of 14 men has been similarly assaulted (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000).


Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship


  • Gets angry when you hang out with other friends or people of the opposite sex.
  • Bosses you around.
  • Often gets in fights with other people or losses his or her temper.
  • Pressures you to have sex or do something sexual that you do not want to do.
  • Swears at you, calls you names, or uses mean language.
  • Uses drugs and alcohol, tries to pressure you into doing the same thing.
  • Blames you for his or her problems, or tells you that it is your fault that he or she hurt you.
  • Insults you or tries to embarrass you in front of other people.
  • Makes you feel scared of their reaction to things.
  • Always wants to know here you are going and who you are with. 
  • Threatens your immigration status or keeps you from learning English.
  • Ignores or dismisses your ideas or things you want to do.
  • Accusing you of flirting or getting romantically involved with someone else.
  • Keep you from having money of your own or from using the car.
  • Criticizes your sexual performance or uses sex as a way to punish you.
  • Leaves you stranded in a dangerous place.
  • Refuses to help you out or keeps you from the doctor.


Warning Sign that Someone May be Abusive


Jealousy  Controlling Behavior
Quick involvement in the relationship  Unrealistic expectations
Isolates the Partner Blames others for problems
Hypersensitive Cruelty towards animals/children
"Playful" use of force during sex Verbal abuse
Belief in rigid sex roles Extreme moods
Intimidation Abusive in past relationships
Threatens violence Breaks or destroys objects
Uses force during an argument Has trouble controlling anger/temper
Depression  Dependency and attachment problems
Sense of entitlement  Low self-esteem


What you Can Do

  • Recognize that you do not deserve abuse and it is not your fault.
  • Acknowledge that you deserve respect and care within a relationship.
  • Understand that there are resources available; you are not alone.  Seek supportive counseling.
  • Develop a safety plan, for instance, have money and car keys hidden; seek a safe place.
  • Report the violence to family, friends, and law enforcement agencies.  


Community and National Resources 

In an emergency, call the police at 911

National Domestic Violence Hotline

        1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Houston Area Women's Center

           (713) 528-2121

Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse


Teen and Young Adult Dating Abuse Helpline


Texas Council of Family Violence

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

University of Houston Campus Resources

UH Police

      Emergency: 911
      Information: (713) 743-0600 or       (713) 743-333

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

(713) 743-5454

Women's Resource Center

(832) 842-6191

Health Center

(713) 743-5151