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Dating & Relationship Violence

Dating and domestic violence occurs in all socio-economic, educational, racial, and age groups. The issues of power and control are at the heart of family violence. The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors to gain power and control.

Supportive Resources

  • Safe Austin, 24 hr. hotline 512-267-SAFE (7233), offers safe shelter and free counseling
  • CTX Police, Austin Police Department or Travis County Sherriff's Department or local police in your area.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673), the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline,
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE(7233)

Important Safety Note:If the dangerous situation involves a partner go to the police or a shelter first.

  • Signs of Violence

    Behavioral Signs:

    • Intimidation: Smashing things, abusing pets, destroying victim's property, displaying weapons.
    • Threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to harm the victim, to commit suicide, to report him or her to child welfare, to make him or her drop charges.
    • Isolation: Controlling what the victim does, sees, and reads, limiting who the victim talks to.
    • Emotional abuse: Putting the victim down, calling him or her names, making him or her think he or she's crazy, playing mind games.

    Warning Signs:

    Someone involved in an abusive relationship might display certain behavioral signs including:

    • Inconsistent explanations: Victims may provide inconsistent explanations as to the cause of their injuries due to fear of alerting others to the severity of their situation.
    • Alcohol abuse: Victims may use alcohol as a means of escape from their everyday reality of abuse.
    • Injuries in multiple stages of healing: Bruises are the most common form of injury and have the following stages of healing: purple to green to yellow.
    • Financial dependence: Batterers may have forbidden their partners from getting or keeping a job or may have kept secret the location and balance of bank accounts.
    • Lack of social support: Batterer may have controlled victim's contact with friends, family, and the outside world. Such isolation limits her or his ability to obtain help with an escape.
    • Fear of severe physical attack: Batterer may use threats of attack to keep victim in a state of perpetual fear. The batterers may tell their victims that, if they leave, they will be killed.
    • Self-blame: It is not uncommon for victims to believe that the abuse is a result of their real or imagined offenses.
    • Belief that the violence is temporary or caused by unusual circumstances: Often batterers place blame for abuse on external sources, alcohol, work pressures, etc. and do not take responsibility for their actions.
  • Safety Planning

    Things to think about:

    How to get away if there is an emergency

    • Be conscious of exits or other escape routes
    • Think about options for transportation (car, bus, train, etc.)

    Who can help

    • Friends, family
    • Support centers, Safe Austin 24 hr. hotline 512-267-SAFE (7233)
    • CTX Police, Austin Police Department or Travis County Sherriff's Department or local police in your area.
    • National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline,
    • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)

    Where to go

    • Friends room or apartment
    • Relatives house
    • A domestic violence or homeless shelter (if you are contemplating leaving town, you may want to consider going to a homeless shelter)
    • CTX Police (even if campus safety knows both you and the perpetratorthey are still responsible for doing their jobs)

    What to bring

    • Important papers and documents: birth certificate, social security card, license, passport, medical records, bills, etc.
    • House or room keys, car keys, cash, credit cards, medicine, important numbers, cell phone
    • Keep all of these things in an emergency bag
    • Hide the bagbest if not in house or car
    • If the bag is discovered, you can call it a disaster, tornado or fire bag
  • Safe Fun

    Staying Safe while Having Fun

    DON'T take advantage of another person who is incapacitated by alcohol or other substance.

    • Try not to leave your drink unattended
      • Only drink from un-opened containers or from drinks you have watched being made and poured
      • Avoid group drinks like punch bowls
      • Cover your drink. It is easy to slip in a small pill even while you are holding your drink. Hold a cup with your hand over the top, or choose drinks that are contained in a bottle and keep your thumb over the nozzle
      • If you feel extremely tired or drunk for no apparent reason, you may have been drugged. Find your friends and ask them to leave with you as soon as possible
      • If you suspect you have been drugged, go to a hospital and ask to be tested
    • Keep track of how many drinks you have had
    • Communicate with your friends of your wherabouts
    • Try to arrive and leave with a group of people you trust
    • Avoid giving out your personal information (phone number, where you live, etc.). If someone asks for your number, take their number instead of giving out yours
  • Residence Hall Safety

    Things to think about in the Residence Hall

    • Lock your door when you go to sleep and when you are not in the room
    • Keep your window locked (especially if it is easy to enter from the ground)
    • If people constantly prop open the main residence hall door, talk to an authority about it
    • If your residence hall has an elevator, try to stay near the button dashboard when are you riding in it so that you have easy access to the emergency button. Also, if you feel threatened, you can push the button for the next floor and leave immediately instead of waiting for the elevator to reach the floor where you live.
    • Avoid isolated areas (stairways, laundry room, study rooms, etc.) when you are alone