• Dating violence/abuse is illegal and punishable by law.
  • 1 in 3 college women and 1 in 10 college men may be victims of sexual dating violence. (Murray, C, Kardatzke, K. Dating violence among college students: key issues for college counselors.  Journal of College Counseling, March 22, 2007)
  • An average of 28% of high school and college students experience dating violence at some point. (Brustin, S., 1995. Legal Response to Teen Dating Violence. Family Law Quarterly, 29, 2, 331.)
  • Nearly 1 in 3 adult women experience at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood. (American Psychological Association, 1986. Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and Family, 10.)
  • The rates of domestic violence in same-gender relationships is roughly the same as domestic violence against heterosexual women, about 25% (LAMBDA)

How does abuse or violence occur in a relationship?

  • Generally, abuse or violence occurs in a repetitive pattern known as “The Cycle of Violence”.  The cycle consists of three phases:  Tension Building, Abusive Incident, Honeymoon (Calm Period)/Recapture.
  • The tension building phase is as it sounds.  Tension begins to increase between the two partners, small arguments may occur.  The tension keeps buidling, much like a rubber band being stretched.  The couple is unable to break the tension in a healthy fashion, such as talking about what’s happening.  The victim does not feel safe in trying to confront her abuser.  The abuser will typically not pay attention if the victim does try to break the tension.
  • The abusive incident may be physical, emotional, sexual etc.  It may include threatening behavior, harassment, breaking furniture/property or any number of abusive/violent acts.
  • The calm period, or what some refer to as the honeymoon, is when the abuser tries to make up for the abusive or violent behavior.  He/she may apologise, promise that it will never happen again.  They may cry, promise to go to counseling, promise to stop drinking – any number of these things, including giving gifts and generally being on his/her best behavior.  The abuser realizes that he/she has crossed the line and he/she will say just about anything to keep the victim in the relationship.  That is the goal of the honeymoon; to keep the victim in the relationship.  The honeymoon is also called “recapture” because the abuser is doing whatever they can to keep the victim in the relationship.

How can I tell if I am being abused?

  • Sometimes it is difficult to know when you are being abused. Abuse is any behavior that is used to intimidate or control you. Abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual, financial, and digital. The signs may look different for different people and it’s important to know that a victim is never at fault for any kind of abusive behaviors.