Violence that occurs in dating or domestic relationships is collectively referred to as Intimate Partner violence. This type of violence is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Intimate Partner violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person’s decisions or actions. Intimate Partner violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, and gender. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. It is present in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating despite the length of the relationship.

Baylor College of Medicine defines intimate partner violence in the following ways:

Dating Violence

Violence committed by one person against another who is or has been in a dating relationship. A dating relationship is defined by the Texas Family Code as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be based on consideration of the:

  • Length of the relationship
  • Nature of the relationship
  • Frequency of the interactions between the persons involved in the relationship

Examples of dating violence include but are not limited to sexual abuse, physical abuse, or the threat of such abuse.

Domestic Violence

Acts of violence committed by a current or former spouse, intimate partner, domestic partner, co-parent (a person who shares a child in common), person similarly situated to a spouse under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Texas, or by any other person against an adult or youth who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Texas.

Examples of domestic violence include but are not limited to sexual abuse, physical abuse, or the threat of such abuse.

Signs of Abuse

Below are common actions and characteristics which may be present in an abusive relationship. Does your partner, spouse, date:

Emotionally abuse you?

  • Control what you do, who you see, talk to, where you go, or what you wear?
  • Call you names, insult you, or constantly criticize you?
  • Try to isolate you from family or friends?
  • Humiliate you and embarrass you with insults or jokes?
  • View women as objects and adhere to strict gender roles and responsibilities?
  • Often accuse you of cheating, flirting, or "wanting" another man/woman's attention and display jealous tendencies?
  • Smash, throw, or break things to intimidate you?
  • Make you think the abuse is not a big deal?
  • Make you ask permission for things including money?
  • Use threats to leave or threats to commit suicide or harm her/himself if you leave?
  • Display weapons as a way to intimidate you? Look at you or act in certain ways that scare you?
  • Call, text, email or communicate via a social media platform with you constantly?

Physically abuse you?

  • Force you to have sex even when you're sick, tired, hurt or simply don't want to?
  • Push, slap, bite, kick, squeeze or choke you?
  • Pin, corner, restrain, hold you or won’t let you leave a space or situation?

Have you heard or said?

  • "My boyfriend would always tell me that he was the only person I needed in my life."
  • "My boyfriend makes all the decisions about what we do. I feel like I have no say in any matter."
  • "He always puts me down in front of other. He would tell me how stupid I was and call me names like stupid, lazy, slut or fat ass."
  • "My girlfriend has a short temper and will lash out at me, but then apologize the next day."
  • "My boyfriend would constantly call me, text me, and email me just to see where I was and who I was with."
  • "My boyfriend accused me of cheating every time I talked to another guy."
  • "My girlfriend threatened to kill herself if I broke up with her."
  • "We had sex whenever he wanted to, even if I didn't."
  • "Whenever I did something he didn't like or even if I looked at him the wrong way, my boyfriend would hit me."
  • “My girlfriend throws things, and sometimes hits me, when she gets mad.”