About Dating Abuse

Relationships may last anywhere from a few days or weeks to a few months or years, with some ups and downs as well as intense emotional, romantic and sexual feelings.

Abusive dating relationships often begin just like healthy, loving ones.

  • An abusive partner may be caring, attentive and romantic in the relationship’s beginning but may become more controlling, possessive or jealous over time.
  • Abusive behaviors might only occur in private so that friends and family members remain unaware of the abuse.
  • Once others become concerned, the dating abuse victim may make excuses for the abusive partner’s behaviors or feel at fault and take the blame for provoking the abuse.

To get helpful advice and learn about the warning signs of abuse so that you can spot them in your dating relationship or be prepared to help a loved one in an abusive dating relationship, you can:

  • Watch Don’t Let Yourself, a two-part, 20-minute video created by teens in Texas
  • Go to loveisrespect.org, a site designed for young people in dating relationships
  • Talk, chat online or text a helpline counselor

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Relationships

LGBTQ teens and young adults may also become involved with an abusive partner. In its 2008 first-in-Virgina community assessment, the Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP) found LGBTQ experiences of violence widespread throughout Virginia. Of the respondents who participated in the assessment:

  • 41 percent had been in an abusive relationship
  • 30 percent had been stalked
  • 36 percent had experienced sexual violence as a youth (17 and younger)
  • 26 percent had experienced sexual violence as an adult

In July 2013, the first Virginia telephone helpline was launched for LGBTQ Virginians to report and seek assistance with partner abuse and sexual violence. Call 866-356-998 or go to the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance for more details.

Don’t Wait for a Tragedy

Too often, our headlines feature news stories about tragic endings to abusive dating relationships, like that of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia student who was murdered in 2010 by her former boyfriend. Yeardley’s mother and sister, Sharon and Lexie, encourage everyone to learn about dating abuse so that they can help someone they love. Watch their interview with Katie Couric.

Preventing Abuse & Promoting Healthy Relationships

A current prevention effort of Project PEACE — involving a partnership with Arlington Public Schools and community faith leaders — focuses on helping Arlington teens to avoid dating violence and build healthy dating relationships.

With helpful resources from the Zonta Club of Arlington Area, Project Peace developed Arlington’s Project PEACE Resources List. Developed for school administrators, community faith leaders, counselors, parents and others to use in a variety of school, faith and community settings, this guide includes practical activities and information on locating online resources — and other materials — that promote healthy teen dating relationships and prevent teen dating abuse. The guide organizes information into nine different sections:

  • Curriculums
  • Male-Specific Resources
  • Faith Community Resources
  • Campaigns & Social Action Resources
  • Online Resources
  • Special Population Resources
  • Parent Resources
  • Video Resources
  • Other Prevention Resource Guides

For more information on Project PEACE and its initiatives, go to the Project PEACE main page or call at 703-228-1678.

Go to Preventing Abuse & Promoting Healthy Relationships to find valuable resources for teachers, faith leaders, youth workers, counselors, coaches and parents on how to prevent dating abuse and promote healthy dating relationships.

Dating Abuse Hotlines

24-Hour Hotline: 866-331-9474
Text “loveis” to 22522
Go to loveisrespect.org for a live chat

Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

#MeToo: Being Men-Raising Men Community Panel 4.10.19