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Dating Violence

Dating violence is a pattern of controlling, abusive and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It can happen in straight or gay relationships. It can include verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or any combination thereof. You may experience dating violence even if you are not being physically abused. It can occur in both casual dating situations and serious, long-term relationships.

Dating violence can happen to anyone, at any age. Being a victim of dating violence is not your fault. Nothing you say, wear or do gives anyone the right to hurt you.


  • One in three teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship.
  • 50-80% of teens reported knowing someone who was involved in a violent relationship.
  • Young women, ages 16-24, experience the highest rates of relationship violence.
  • Of the women between the ages of 15-19 murdered each year, 30% are killed by their husband or boyfriend.1

Signs of an abusive relationship

Controlling Behavior

  • Not letting you hang out with your friends
  • Calling or paging you frequently to find out where you are, who you’re with and what you’re doing
  • Telling you what clothes and makeup to wear
  • Having to be with you all the time

Verbal and Emotional Abuse

  • Calling you names, belittling you
  • Threatening to hurt you or someone you care about
  • Jealousy

Physical Abuse

  • Shoving
  • Punching/Hitting
  • Slapping
  • Pinching
  • Kicking
  • Hair pulling
  • Strangling

Sexual Abuse

  • Unwanted touching
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Not letting you take your birth control
  • Forcing you to perform other sexual acts

Get Help

If you think you are in an abusive relationship

  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Call 911 for emergencies
  • Call a 24 hour hotline
  • Mercer County Hotline – 609-394-9000
  • New Jersey Statewide Hotline – 1-800-572-SAFE
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE
  • If you know someone who is in a violent relationship, you can call a hotline for information and encourage them to seek help


  1. City of New York, Teen relationship Abuse Fact Sheet, March 1998

Mercer County Emergency Services Phone Numbers

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault 24 Hour Hotline (609)394-9000

New Jersey Statewide Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline

(800) 572-SAFE (7233)

Womanspace is friendly to the deaf community. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals please text us 24/7 at (609)619-1888

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