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Thinking about the dark side of relationships might not be romantic. But being informed about dating abuse is key to your health and safety.
Types of Dating AbuseDating abuse can take many forms. Teens and young adults can go through these kinds of dating abuse in their relationships:
What Can You DoIf you or someone you know has experienced dating abuse, here's what you can do:
1. Know the warning signsSometimes victims of abuse have a hard time seeing their relationship as abusive. This is especially true if their partner is emotionally and verbally abusive. Knowing the signs of abuse will make it easier to both identify abuse and seek help for yourself or a friend. Check out the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Loveisrepect to get familiar with the warning signs of abuse.
2. Call or text the National Domestic Violence Hotline/National Dating Abuse HelplineThe National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Dating Abuse Helpline both offer anonymous and confidential help 24/7. These resources can be very helpful when you are away at school for the first time, cut off from your friends and family from home. If you need support or are worried about somebody else call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit www.ndvh.org for the Hotline, or call 1-866-331-9474, text “loveis” to 22522 or chat online at loveisrespect.org for the Helpline.
3. Make a personal safety planIf you are in an abusive relationship, consider making a safety plan. A safety plan will get you thinking about how you might get away from an unsafe situation and help you make fast, safe choices if you are in danger. If you are unsure of where to get started, you can download Loveisrespect’s Safety Planning Guide, made for college students. This guide will help you plan where to go on campus to feel safe and who can help.
4. Take advantage of campus supportAt school, you should have a number of safety resources. If you live in a dorm, your resident advisor (RA) might be a good person to go to if you are worried about your safety in the dorm. Colleges often give you free sessions with a counselor , and they can get you in touch with local resources that specialize in abusive relationships. Also, there may be women’s, LGBTQ and sexual assault centers on campus that can give support and guidance. You may talk with local or campus police to report violence.
5. Reach out to the victimIf you suspect that a friend or roommate is being abused, the most important thing you can do is to be there for them. Loveisrespect has a number of tips on how you can help a friend. Try to not judging or condemn the person for staying in the relationship. Let them know that you are worried and can help them if they ask.
Healthy RelationshipsEveryone deserves to be in a safe and healthy relationship. A healthy relationship consists of open communication, respect, boundaries, support, trust and compromise.
If you are unsure of whether you are in a healthy relationship take this quiz from Loveisrespect.
Originally published October 22, 2015; Revised 2017, 2020
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