Dating Violence

Dating violence is the intentional use of physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control another person in a dating relationship. Hundreds of thousands of young people experience dating abuse every year. 8% of high school students said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by someone they were dating. 

Do you think your relationship is healthy? Is your partner supportive of the things that you do? Do they listen when you have something to say? Do they constantly check in on you? If you’re in doubt, click here to take a quiz on healthy relationships. Dating violence is never okay, no matter what form it comes in. If you know of someone who may be in a dating violence situation, please speak up. You can do this by using Friends for Life to submit an anonymous report.

Did You Know?

  • 9.3% and 12.6% of female high school students experience physical dating violence and sexual dating violence, respectively.
  • 41% of males have experienced physical and sexual dating violence 4 times or more in one year compared to 21% of females.
  • 13.1% and 16.4% of high schoolers who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual experience physical and sexual dating violence, respectively.
  • Hispanic high school students have the highest percentage of those who have experienced physical (8.9%) and sexual (8.7%) dating violence.
  • Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.

Types of Abuse:

  • Physical Abuse - the intentional use of physical force that can result in physical injury.
    • Pushing, kicking, slapping, shoving, strangulation, threatening with a weapon.
  • Emotional Abuse - behaviors that harm an individuals self-worth or emotional well-being. 
    • Ridicule, name calling, intimidation, control, shaming, withholding love, isolation from friends or family.
  • Sexual Abuse - pressuring or forcing an individual to engage in sexual acts.
    • Non-consensual sexual acts, sexual touching, sexting without consent, refusal to use condoms or restricting birth control access.
  • Stalking - you are being stalked when a person repeatedly watches, follows or harasses you, making you feel afraid or unsafe.
    • Showing up at your home or work uninvited, making unwanted phone calls, leaving unwanted gifts or items, calling your employer or professor.

Set Your Boundaries:

  • Healthy relationships are all about setting appropriate boundaries that both individuals voluntarily agree to.
    • Emotional Boundaries that should be considered include what language is used in the relationship (i.e., when to say “I love you”, using words like “babe”, etc.) and time spent apart from each other.
    • Physical Boundaries to consider include what level of sexual contact each partner is okay with and understand that sex is not currency. Remember, neither partner owes the other anything when it comes to sexual activity.
    • Digital Boundaries are much more necessary today than in the past. Things to discuss: keeping passwords private from each other, using the other person’s digital device, when it’s okay to text and/or call each other, and not telling each other who they can or cannot follow/friend.
    • For more on boundary setting suggestions visit

What is Consent?

  • Consent is an ongoing mutual agreement between partners about what they want to experience.
  • When engaged in a healthy relationship, all partners are able to honestly and openly agree to what kind of activity they are comfortable with. 
  • Some may think asking for consent is awkward or a “mood killer”, but many times asking for consent can actually create a more positive and romantic experience for those involved. 
  • Remember that consent is ongoing and that consent in one moment does not equal consent in the next moment; consent in the past is not consent for the future.
  • Consent means communicating every step of the way, don’t assume the other person is okay with every action.
  • Consent requires an enthusiastic “yes”. A “maybe” is NOT a yes.
  • Asking for consent may look like the following:
    • “Are you comfortable?”
    • “Is this okay?”
    • “Do you want to slow down?”
    • “Do you want to go any further?”
  • Just because someone dresses a certain way, is flirting, accepting a ride/gift, or doing a favor does NOT mean they are giving someone their consent.
  • Someone under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or otherwise incapacitated CANNOT give consent.
  • Watch this short video to see the similarities in offering someone tea and asking consent!

Being a Positive Bystander:

  • Be direct; if it’s safe to do so, let the person who is being hurtful know that you disapprove and they should stop.
  • Distract; use some sort of question or statement to redirect the conversation/situation so that you can help the victim remove themselves from the situation.
  • Delegate someone; sometimes it’s either too hard or unsafe to intervene yourself and you should delegate to a higher authority (i.e., a parent, police, teacher, trusted authority figure, etc.).
  • Submit an anonymous report about dating violence to Friends for Life.

If you are in a dating violence situation, please call 911, One Safe Place at 817-916-4323, or utilize one of the other resources down below. 

Friends for Life and other Crime Stoppers programs are for those who are trying to get help for a friend, not for emergency use or those in a dating violence situation themselves.