The answer is absolutely.
Dating violence can take many forms, including:
- Physical abuse: any intentional use of physical force meant to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking, or using a weapon.
- Emotional abuse: non-physical behavior such as threats, insults, humiliation, intimidation, isolation, or stalking.
- Sexual abuse: any action that forces undesired sexual behavior on you by another person. This includes making you do anything you don’t want to do sexually, refusing to have safe sex, aggressively pressuring you to go further than you want to sexually, or making you feel badly about yourself sexually.
While it may seem like women are the only ones who deal with dating violence, male-victim domestic violence is easy to miss—common stereotypes make it incredibly difficult for a man to admit that his partner has abused him in any way. The fact is, women can hit, call names, and behave violently and abusively just as much as men can.
- Calls you names, insults you, or puts you down,
- Prevents you from going to work or school,
- Stops you from seeing family members or friends,
- Tries to control how you spend money, where you go, or what you wear,
- Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful,
- Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs,
- Threatens you with violence or a weapon,
- Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes, or otherwise hurts you,
- Assaults you while you're sleeping or not paying attention to make up for a difference in strength,
- Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will, and/ or
- Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it.
So while 1 in 3 women will experience dating violence in her lifetime, let’s not forget the boys…and whether male or female, victims can start by telling someone about the abuse, whether it's a friend, relative, health care provider, or other close contact. At first, you may find it hard to talk about the abuse. But you'll also likely feel relief and receive much-needed support.
Get more info and advice about dating violence on our National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month page. Then tell us in the comments what you think about dating violence. Have you experienced it? Know anyone who has?