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.

Abusive people will often use tactics that are confusing to the victim. One tactic that abusers will use is defined as gaslighting. Gaslighting is a colloquialism that is loosely defined as making someone question their reality. The term is also used, informally, to describe someone who persistently puts forth a false narrative which leads another person to doubt their own perceptions to the extent that they become disoriented and distressed. This dynamic is generally only possible when the victim is vulnerable such as in unequal power relationships or when the victim is fearful of the losses associated with challenging the false narrative. 

Abusive relationships are often characterized by an uneven dynamic where the abuser has most, if not all, of the power and control over their victim. Some common ways that abusers maintain power and control in relationships include: emotional abuse, isolation, inimidation, minimizing the abuse, denying the abuse, blaming the victim, economic/financial abuse, gender privilege, coercion, and threats. Abusers will also often use technology as a way to track and monitor their victim to show the victim that they have the power and control in the relationship.

If you feel unsafe in your relationship, you may want to consider a safe way to leave the relationship. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, or professional to develop a safety plan, may help you to feel like you have concrete steps that you can take to leave an abusive relationship. A safety plan will include some or all of the following considerations:

  • How do you stay safe on campus.
  • How do you stay safe in residential housing.
  • How do you stay safe emotionally.
  • Listing community and campus resources available to you for support.

You may want to speak with a counselor or advocate to discuss further steps you can take to be safe in your everyday life, in your social life, online, and with your information that is stored on your computer or cell phone.  

Check out these websites for more information and ideas on safety planning:
Incidences of dating and domestic violence violate campus sexual misconduct policy.

To report an incident and/or pursue other supportive measures available to dating/domestic violence victims on campus, contact:

  • CSB Title IX Coordinator: Tamara Hennes-Vix, 320-363-5943
  • SJU Interim Title IX Coordinator: Patricia Weishaar, 320-363-2113
  • CSB Security, 320-363-5000
  • SJU Life Safety, 320-363-2144
  • For immediate emergencies, call 911
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 information and help to apply. Contact CMSAC at (320) 251-4357 or [email protected] or AMA at (320) 253-6900 or to get connected.

Find out if you are eligible for the Safe at Home Program 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, Anna Marie's Alliance 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 shelter advocates.

Contact the shelter to inquire about services at (320) 253-6900 or visit their website at