What is Relationship Violence?

Relationship violence (also called domestic violence, dating violence and intimate partner violence) is verbal, physical or sexual abuse inflicted on a dating, domestic, or intimate partner to gain power or control. The abuse can take many forms:

Dating Violence: Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be based on the length and type of relationship and the frequency of interaction with the persons involved in the relationship. It is important to recognize that emotional, verbal, and economic abuse are part of the web of dating violence and can exist without the presence of physical abuse.

Domestic Violence: Domestic Violence includes crimes of violence committed against a victim by: (i) a current or former spouse; (ii) a person with whom the victim shares a child; (iii) a person who is or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse; (iv) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim; or (v) any other person against whom the victim is protected under North Carolina’s domestic and family violence laws. It is important to recognize that emotional, verbal, and economic abuse are part of the web of domestic violence and can exist without the presence of physical abuse.

Emotional Abuse: Includes actions by a partner that systematically destroy a person’s sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Includes jealous behavior, ignoring feelings, belittling values, restricting social activities with others, and withholding love, approval, and affection.

Verbal Abuse: Using words to injure another person. Includes name calling, insults, threats of physical and/or sexual violence, threats of self-harm and/or suicide, humiliation, intimidation, and exaggerated criticism for mistakes.

Sexual Abuse: Includes any forcible sexual activity that occurs without consent. This can range from unwanted touching to forcible penetration. Sexual abuse also includes verbal criticism of one’s body.

Physical Abuse: Includes any behavior that causes or threatens bodily harm. Some examples are hitting, slapping, grabbing, breaking things, or threatening to do any of the above.

Below are some behaviors to look for in a violent relationship. Question relationships with a partner who:

  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs.
  • Has a history of trouble with the law, gets into fights, breaks and destroys property.
  • Chooses not to work or go to school.
  • Blames you for how they treat you, or for anything bad that happens.
  • Abuses siblings, other family members, children or pets.
  • Puts down people, including your family and friends, or calls them names. This can be to their face or behind their back.
  • Is always angry at someone or something.
  • Tries to isolate you and control whom you see or where you go.
  • Nags you, guilts you, pressures you, or forces you to be sexual when you don’t want to be.
  • Cheats on you.
  • Is physically rough with you in ways that you don’t like (pushing, shoving, pulling, yanking, squeezing, restraint).
  • Takes your money, makes you pay for everything, or runs up bills on your credit.
  • Accuses you of flirting or “coming on” to others or accuses you of cheating on them.
  • Doesn’t listen to you or show interest in your opinions or feelings – things always have to be done their way.
  • Ignores you, gives you the silent treatment, or hangs up on you.
  • Lies to you, doesn’t show up for dates, and may disappear for days without contact.
  • Makes vulgar comments about others in your presence or about you to others.
  • Blames all arguments and problems on you.
  • Tells you how to dress or act.
  • Threatens to kill themselves if you break up with them, or tells you that they cannot live without you.
  • Experiences extreme mood swings . . . tells you you’re the greatest one minute and rips you apart the next minute.
  • Tells you to shut up or tells you you’re dumb, stupid, fat, or calls you some other name (directly or indirectly).
  • Compares you (negatively) to former partners.

You may be in an abusive relationship if you:

  • Feel afraid to break up with your partner.
  • Feel tied down; feel like you have to check-in.
  • Feel afraid to make decisions or bring up certain subjects because your partner might get mad.
  • Tell yourself that if you just try harder and love your partner enough that everything will be fine.
  • Blame yourself for not being good enough.
  • Find yourself crying a lot, being depressed or unhappy.
  • Find yourself worrying and obsessing about how to please your partner and keep them happy.
  • Find the physical or emotional abuse getting worse.

If you or someone you know has experienced relationship violence, please know that assistance is available. N.C. A&T encourages all community members to seek help and report incidents of relationship violence.

Call the University Police Department, 336-334-7128 or 911 if you feel you are in danger or have been a victim of relationship violence. If the act of relationship violence occurred off campus, contact the police department in the locality where the act occurred.

If you need assistance with living arrangements due to safety issues or you would like to discuss a safety plan, contact the Counseling Services at N.C. A&T, 336-334-7727. See the RESOURCE page for additional help to you on and off campus.

Make a plan of what to do and where to go if you are in danger.

Consider requesting a protective order through the court system.

Consider seeking medical care as needed.

Consider talking with a counselor who is trained to assist you with the emotional impact of relationship violence. You can contact the Counseling Center, 336-334-7727, at N.C. A&T. You can also visit our reporting page for additional resources on and off campus to help you.

Abusers will often isolate their victims. Share what’s happening with a trusted friend or reach out to friends and family you may have not connected with in a while. It is important to have a good support system.

You have a right to stay in school. N.C. A&T Counseling Services has resources to help you get through tough semesters, or options if you are considering taking a break from campus. If you are having trouble attending classes or completing your academic assignments, papers, and/or exams, contact the Dean of Students Office, 336-334-7791, about academic relief.

If you are or have been a victim of relationship violence by a student, consider making a report to the Title IX Coordinator, 336-285-3770. Relationship violence violates the Student Code of Conduct and you can consider making a report to the Dean of Students office, 336-334-7791.