Relationship abuse, sometimes also called intimate partner violence or dating/domestic violence, is a pattern of behavior in which one partner uses fear and intimidation to establish power and control over the other partner, often including the threat or use of violence. This abuse happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another.
Relationship abuse can occur in any type of relationship including intimate relationships that do not involve romantic feelings. In an abusive relationship, behaviors that are used to maintain fear, intimidation, and power over another person may include threats, intimidation, economic abuse, sexual abuse, taking advantage of privilege, or using someone's identity against them. These behaviors may take the form of physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse.
If you think you are experiencing relationship abuse:
- It is not your fault.
- You are not alone.
- Making a safety plan can help you feel safer.
- Consider keeping a log of abusive incidents for your records or for reports to the Title IX Office or law enforcement.
- Know that you do not have to make a decision to report relationship abuse before accessing counseling, medical, or advocacy services.
Warning Signs of Relationship Abuse
- Your partner puts you down in front of other people.
- Your partner blames you for their abusive behavior/temper.
- Your partner is controlling of your behaviors, actions, and/or time.
- Your partner is extremely jealous or possessive of you.
- Your partner pressures you to do things, sexually or otherwise.
- Your partner has an explosive temper.
- Your partner withholds access to medications, safe sex practices, hormones, and/or medical care.
- You are constantly worried about making your partner angry.
- You may make excuses for your partner's behavior.
- You have signs of physical abuse, like marks or injuries.
- You've stopped spending time with friends and family.
- You feel depressed or anxious, or notice changes in your personality.