Rape & Date Violence

“Dating violence is about power. Whether through words or actions, the abuse is meant to control or hurt another person.

“It’s very common. Chances are, someone you know has been a victim of dating violence. Most (but not all) victims are women.

The effects can be serious. They can be:

• physical (bruises, broken bones)
• emotional (depression, low self-esteem)
• deadly

Victims may come to view abuse as a normal part of relationships. But abuse is never normal!”
“Dating violence can take many forms. And in many cases, it’s a crime. Emotional and verbal abusemay include:

• lies and broken promises
• keeping a person away from family, friends, or interests
• insults and threats
• controlling a person-how to dress, what to do, what to buy
Physical abuse may include:

• Punching, kicking, shaking, slapping, or choking
• Attacking with a weapon
Sexual abuse is rape or any other kind of unwanted sexual comment, advance, or contact.”
“Abuse is never the victim’s fault. Abusers often blame the other person for ‘causing’ the abuse. But the only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser!
“You always have the right to say no to sex. This is true even if you’ve had sex before. And remember, you never ‘owe’ anyone sex.
“Abuse often follows a pattern. After the abuse, the abuser may make excuses or apologize. He or she may promise to stop and be extra nice. But abuse usually happens again and gets worse over time.
“You can reduce the risk of dating violence.

• Be direct. Let your partner know that you won’t tolerate abuse. Share your sexual limits early and clearly.
• Stay in control. Don’t use alcohol or other drugs. Have your own way home and a cell phone, just in case.
• Trust your instincts. Get to know someone before going out alone with him or her. Or, go out with a group.
• Be careful of dating people who:
➢ put down others often
➢ are aggressive, physically or verbally
➢ abuse alcohol or use other drugs
➢ want to always be in control
➢ get very angry or jealous

“You can end an unhealthy relationship.”

Get help. If you’ve been physically hurt, get medical help. If you fear you’re in danger, call 9-1-1 right away. Talk with a friend, family member or health-care provider. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) – 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

“Get out. Make a plan to end things safely. Contact the sources above. Resist the temptation to give the person one more chance.

“If you know a victim of dating violence: Believe and support the person. Listen without judging. Encourage the victim to get help.

“You deserve to have a happy, healthy relationship!”1

1 “Dating Violence: Facts You Should Know.” (2009). Channing Bete Company, Inc.: South Deerfield, MA.

If you say “No” to sex, and the person you are with forces you to have sex anyway, you have experienced date rape. Date rape is another form of relationship violence, and you have a right to seek help. No one can force you to have sex against your will, so don’t let anyone abuse you in that way.

Date rape and date violence are serious problems. If you or your friend is a victim of rape or date violence, please seek help immediately. People and resources exist to help you escape your situation. For more information, visit the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) at http://www.rainn.org/ or call the free hotline number, 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673). For further help or to begin the healing process, visit the HELP Pregnancy Center.