Dating Violence

Dating violence is controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It occurs across all communities, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, cultural heritage and social or economic status.

Dating violence isn’t only about hitting. It’s about:

  • Excessive jealousy
  • Threats
  • Accusations
  • Verbal and psychological abuse
  • Forced sex or being humiliated into performing sexual acts
  • Constantly calling/texting
  • Control of family possessions
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling you what to wear, who you can talk to and who you can have as a friend
  • Isolating you from friends and family


It can occur in person or electronically and might occur with a current or former dating partner. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination.

Dating violence is a public health issue that affects people from all ages, backgrounds and identities, however young people ages 16-24 experience violence more than any other age group. In fact, 1 in 3 young people experience some form of dating or sexual violence.

Abusive relationships can start just like healthy ones – full of love, excitement and romance. As times goes on, what once felt loving or flattering starts to feel controlling and even frightening.

Some of the effects of the abuse can be:

  • Guilt, shame and blame – that you couldn’t stop the abuse or because you experienced extreme fear or arousal
  • Low self-esteem – that you've begun to believe the emotional abuse and feel defective, worthless, or empty
  • Intimacy and relationship issues – perhaps you find yourself in one abusive relationship after another, have difficulty communicating/expressing yourself or managing your emotions.

No matter what the abuse, it’s never too late to begin the healing process from this experience and live a happy, healthy life that you deserve.

If you or someone you care about has been a victim of dating violence, please contact our confidential hotline at 605 642-7825 to find out how we can help. If this is an emergency and you are not safe, call 911.

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Love is Respect