Dating and Domestic Violence

Dating violence is defined as controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It occurs among people who are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination of these. Relationships in which dating violence happens might have red flags such as jealousy, manipulation, name-calling, and sometimes physical or sexual abuse.

Healthy and Unhealthy Characteristics of Relationships

10 Signs of Healthy Relationship
Healthy relationships bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself.
A healthy relationship does not mean a “perfect” relationship, and no one is healthy 100% of the
time, but the signs below are behaviors you should strive for in all of your relationships.
Healthy relationships manifest themselves as healthy communication, but in order to have a healthy relationship,
you need to love yourself first. Here are some characteristics and behaviors of a healthy relationship.

Comfortable Pace

The relationship moves at a
speed that feels enjoyable for
each person.
You can be truthful and candid
without fearing how the other
person will respond.
You value one another’s
beliefs and opinions, and love
one another for who you are
as a person.
You are caring and empathetic
to one another, and provide
comfort and support.
Healthy Conflict
Openly and respectfully
discussing issues and
confronting disagreements


Confidence that your partner
won’t do anything to hurt you
or ruin the relationship.
You have space to be yourself
outside of the relationship.
The relationship feels
balanced and everyone puts
the same effort into the
success of the relationship.
Taking Responsibility
Owning your own actions
and words.
You enjoy spending time
together and bring out the
best in each other.

10 Signs of Unhealthy Relationship

While everyone does unhealthy things sometimes, we can all learn to love better by recognizing
unhealthy signs and shifting to healthy behaviors. If you are seeing unhealthy signs in your
relationship, it’s important to not ignore them and understand they can escalate to abuse.
If you think you are in a dangerous situation, trust your gut and get help.


When someone expresses
very extreme feelings and
over-the top behavior that
feels overwhelming.
When someone tries to
control your decisions,
actions or emotions.
When someone purposely
ruins your reputation,
achievements, or success.
When someone makes you
feel responsible for their
actions or makes you feel like
it’s your job to keep them

Deflecting Responsibility

When someone repeatedly
makes excuses for their unhealthy behavior.
When someone is jealous
to a point where they
try to control who you spend
time with and what you do.


When someone keeps you
away from friends, family, or
other people.
When someone does and says
things to make you feel bad
about yourself.
When someone has a really
strong, unpredictable
reaction that makes you
feel scared, confused or
When someone is disloyal
or acts in an intentionally
dishonest way.

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Other cues that might indicate an abusive relationship:

  • You feel afraid to break up with him/her.
  • You feel tied down, like you have to check in with your partner.
  • You feel afraid of making decision or bringing up certain subjects so your partner won't get made.
  • You tell yourself that if you just try harder and love your partner enough, everything will be just fine.
  • You find yourself crying a lot, being depressed or unhappy.
  • You find yourself worrying and obsessing about how to please your partner and keep him/her happy.
  • You find the physical or emotional abuse getting worse over time. 

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Domestic Violence Statistics, U.S.

America has some alarming statistics concerning intimate partner domestic violence. Here are some of those facts. Every day, there are almost 20 people a minute that are physically abused by someone close to them.

That comes to about 10 million women and men a year that are victims of domestic violence.

  • As many as 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men face severe domestic violence from an intimate partner, resulting in injury, stress disorders, contracting sexually transmitted diseases and many other devastating results.
  • On an average day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls that are made to domestic violence hotlines across the nation.
  • Domestic violence concerning intimate partner accounts for 15% of all violent crimes.
  • When there’s the presence of a gun in the home, the risk of homicide is increased by over 500% where domestic violence is taking place.
  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men at some point in their lives, will feel threatened or fearful that they may be harmed or killed while being stalked by a past intimate partner.
  • As few as 34% of victims ever receive medical treatment for their injuries caused by their intimate partner.

Why Don’t Domestic Violence Victims Leave?

There is a huge list of reasons as to why a victim might not be willing to leave their abuser. For starters, some victims know and are aware of what their abuser is capable of, and any thought of escaping abuse is more like a death sentence.

  • They may have also been threatened by their abuser to never leave or something horrible may happen.
  • It’s this gripping fear that keeps a victim from escaping abuse and their domestic violence situation. They may be afraid that their abuser will further try and hurt or kill them, or their children may possibly be hurt or killed.
  • Victims worry about the wellbeing of their pets, the custody of their children, suffering financial ruin, and so on. 

Safe at Home Program

Safe at Home is a program through the state of Minnesota for those in fear of their safety due to violence and abuse. This program assists victim/survivors to increase their safety needs through a confidential address.

Central MN Sexual Assault Center (CMSAC) and Anna Marie's Alliance (AMA) have a Safe at Home Application Assistant if you are looking for assistance on how to apply. Contact CMSAC at (320) 251-4357 or [email protected] or AMA at (320) 253-6900 or to get connected.

To see if you are eligible for the Safe at Home Program, click here:

Need a Safe Place to Go?

Anna Marie’s Alliance Shelter provides 24-hour emergency shelter for women who have experienced domestic violence and their children. Located in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, our shelter is a safe place where victims receive temporary residency, find the physical and mental health assistance they need to begin the healing process, and access the resources they need with the help of our shelter advocates.

Contact the shelter to inquire about services at (320) 253-6900.