University Police Department

Dating Violence

No one deserves to be in a relationship where they are the victim of violence. 

Often times, dating violence manifest itself with controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. Dating violence can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination. The National Center for Victims of Crime defines dating violence as emotional, physical, or mental abuse within the bounds of a romantic or potential relationship. It may include any behavior used to manipulate, gain control, gain power; cause fear, or make a dating partner feel bad about themselves.

Increasing your understanding of this issue and preventative strategies can help reduce your risk of victimization. 

Potential Warning Signs

Be aware of the warning signs that may indicate you are in an abusive relationship. You have to know yourself and what feels uncomfortable or unusual in order to tell which of these signs can actually be linked to an abusive relationship. Trust other people who know you as well. If friends or family tell you that they are concerned about your relationship or how you are treated by your dating partner, they could be right.

There are behaviors to watch for in your dating partner that can indicate abuse, such as:

  • Insulting you in front of others.
  • Controlling your money and finances.
  • Quickly losing his/ her temper with you or someone else.
  • Demanding to know where you are at all times.
  • Making most of the decisions about your relationship.
  • Requiring that he or she approves of your clothing or make-up choices.
  • Showing signs of extreme jealousy.
  • Hitting, pushing or acting out violently (this is never acceptable, and you should get help immediately) 
  • Not letting you hang out with your friends.
  • Telling you what to do.
  • Calling, texting, or paging you frequently to find out where you are, whom you’re with, and what you’re doing.
  • Having to be with you all the time.
  • Checking your cell phone or email without permission.
  • Isolating you from family or friends.
  • Making false accusations.

Verbal and emotional abuse may include:

  • Calling you names
  • Constant put-downs
  • Explosive temper
  • Belittling you (cutting you down)
  • Threatening to hurt you, someone in your family, or himself or herself if you don’t do what he/she wants

Physical abuse may include:

  • Calling you names
  • Shoving
  • Punching
  • Slapping
  • Pinching
  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Hair Pulling
  • Strangling

Sexual abuse may include: 

  • Unwanted touching and kissing
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Not letting you use birth control
  • Forcing you to do other sexual things

If you are in an unhealthy relationship, you may notice that your behavior has changed also. For example, you may be:

  • Spending all of your time with a dating partner and very little time with friends. 
  • Losing interest in or giving up activities that once were important to you
  • Feeling afraid of your dating partner
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Refusing to discuss your relationship with others, including close friends and family
  • Having bruises or injuries inflicted upon you by your partner

If You Are a Victim of Dating Violence, You Might…

  • Think it’s your fault.
  • Feel angry, sad, lonely, depressed, or confused.
  • Feel helpless to stop the abuse.
  • Feel threatened or humiliated.
  • Fell anxious
  • Not know what might happen next.
  • Feel like you can’t talk to family and friends.
  • Be afraid of getting hurt more seriously.
  • Feel protective of your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Tips for Dating Safety and Avoiding Dating Violence

The following tips will help you protect yourself from dating violence:

  • While on a date be sure to stay in public places and refuse to go anywhere with a date who has been drinking or doing drugs.
  • If you are going on a date with someone that you do not know and would like to take an extra precaution, try a group date with friends.
  • Know that any behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable is not okay and it is OK to stand up for yourself.
  • Pay attention to your instincts and trust your own judgment about unsafe situations.
  • Tell a friend or family member your date's name and where you are going
  • Rely on friends and family to discuss a difficult situation. If you feel threatened there are several ways to get help.
  • Have money available for transportation.
  • Keep spare change, calling cards, or a cell phone handy for immediate access to communications.
  • Create a secret code with people you trust. That way, if you are with your partner, you can get help without having to say you need help.
  • Let friends or family know when you are afraid or need help.
  • When you go out, say where you are going and when you’ll be back.
  • In an emergency, call 911.
  • Remember that dating should be fun!  Feeling fearful or unsafe is not fun!

Ending an abusive relationship

Being a victim of dating violence is not your fault. Nothing you say, wear, or do gives anyone the right to hurt you. If you are thinking of ending your relationship, consider these safety tips:

  • If you don’t feel safe, don’t break up in person. It may seem cruel to break up over the phone or by email, but this can provide you the distance needed to stay safe.
  • If you decide to break up in person, consider doing it in a public place. Take a cell phone with you if possible.
  • Don’t try to explain your reasons for ending the relationship more than once. There is nothing you can say that will make your ex happy about the break up.
  • Let your friends and parents know you are ending your relationship, especially if you think your ex will come to your house or try to get you alone.
  • If your ex tries to come to your house when you’re alone, don’t go to the door.
  • Trust yourself. If you feel afraid, you probably have a good reason.
  • Create a safety plan, like where you can go if you are in danger.
  • Create a secret code with people you trust. That way, if you are with your partner, you can get help without having to say you need help.
  • Try to avoid walking or riding alone.
  • Be smart about technology. Don't share your passwords. Don't post your schedule on Facebook, and keep your settings private.
  • Ask for help.

Help Someone Else

If you know someone who might be in an abusive relationship, you can help.

  • Tell the person you are worried.
  • Be a good listener
  • Offer your friendship and support.
  • Ask how you can help.
  • Encourage your friend to seek help.
  • Educate yourself about dating violence and healthy relationships.
  • Avoid any confrontations with the abuser.

On Campus Resources

  • UMHB Police Department 911 or 254-295-5555
  • Counseling, Testing and Health Services 254-295-4696
  • Dean of Students 254-295-4590
  • Title IX Coordinator 254-295-4527

These resources are available for more information and/or help:

Police Department
Address:  900 College Street, UMHB Station Box 8350, Belton, TX 76513
Phone: (254) 295-5555 | Non-emergency: (254) 295-4587