Dating Violence - Tips for Women


This type of abuse begins when we start dating and developing intimate relationships. It can happen at any age and in both heterosexual and gay relationships.

Dating Violence Can Take Many Forms

Sexual assault, including:

  • non-consenting intercourse
  • unwanted sexual touching
  • sexual harassment
  • sexual exploitation
  • forcing unsafe, degrading or offensive sexual activity
  • control of reproductive decisions

Psychological Abuse:

  • excessive jealousy
  • insisting partner cut off communication and contact with family and/or friends
  • grandiose promises of marriage or security, often under the guise of love
  • destruction of personal property
  • threats
  • degrading comments or put downs

Physical abuse:

  • assault, which can include pushing, slapping, kicking, biting, beating, burning, strangulation and/or use of a weapon
  • physical neglect, such as denial of food, medication or medical care
  • confinement

Stalking behaviours, including:

  • persistent unwanted attention
  • spying and following
  • excessive telephone, cell phone, internet or text message communication
  • unwanted gifts

Bullying, including:

  • encouraging exclusion
  • spreading rumors (often about sexual activity)
  • inappropriate phone, internet and/or text messaging

Facts About Dating and Sexual Abuse

  • Females are 2 to 3 more times more likely to experience sexual abuse than males
  • Young women are at a greater risk of sexual assault, physical assault and murder than older women.

Watch for the following clues that a person may be experiencing dating violence

  • signs of physical injury
  • excessive absence from work or quitting work, poor work performance
  • emotional outbursts, mood or personality changes
  • isolation, keep to themselves
  • drug or alcohol use
  • indecision

Women of all ages can take measures to prevent becoming abuse victims. Recognizing trouble signs is an important first step. It is equally vital for women to value themselves and take action to avoid partners who try and maintain power or control over their time, body and actions.

Safety Planning, Tips and Actions

Dating Safely

  • Consider double dating the first few times you go out with a new person
  • Ensure that you have the resources to get home on your own
  • Be aware of your decreased ability to react if under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • If you leave a party with someone you don't know, make sure you tell a reliable person your plans and who you are leaving with.
  • Ask a friend to call and make sure you made it home safely
  • Assert yourself when necessary
  • Be firm and straightforward in your relationships
  • Trust your instincts
  • If a situation makes you feel uncomfortable, try to be calm and think of a way to remove yourself from the situation

Help Yourself

Examine your relationship and encourage people who date to examine their relationships. Anyone in a relationship should consider whether they are:

  • afraid of their partner
  • made to feel stupid, useless or worthless
  • being cut off from family and friends
  • feeling forced into sexual activity
  • being threatened with physical abuse
  • being manipulated emotionally, such as "if you love me you will do as I want"
  • experiencing physical abuse, such as shoving, grabbing, hitting, pinching or kicking
  • witnessing wild mood swings, perhaps alternating between cruel and kind, almost as if there are two personalities
  • receiving frequent promises that their partner will change
  • dating someone who denies or belittles past abuse that has occurred.

Information on Violence and Abusive Relationships

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