Recognizing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence Toolkit
1.1 How Is It Defined?
Each school district is required (Texas Education Code 37.0831) to adopt and implement a dating violence policy which includes a definition of dating violence describing “the intentional use of physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control another person in a dating relationship, as defined by Section 71.0021, Family Code.”
Examples of dating violence behaviors
- Physical abuse, such as choking, shaking, pushing, slapping, or hitting.
- Sexual abuse, including the use of coercion, manipulation, or force. It can also include the unwanted posting of intimate photos online, also known as revenge porn.
- Psychological or emotional abuse, including threats, false accusations, instilling a belief of unworthiness, restricting contact with others, extreme or obsessive jealousy or insecurity, control over appearance or behavior, or repeated belittling or insults.
- Stalking, such as driving by the victim's house, school, or job; sending unwanted and repeated texts or making unwanted calls; or monitoring locations and activities on social media.
- Financial control, including stealing property, getting a partner fired or written up at work, preventing a partner from working, demanding credit cards PINs, and controlling how money is spent.
Examples of physical abuse
- Inflicting pain, such as punching, biting, pushing, strangling, or kicking.
- Threatening you with weapons or using weapons.
- Throwing items at you.
- Physically preventing you from leaving the room, house, or other location.
- Preventing you from calling for help, including calling 911.
Examples of psychological or emotional abuse
- Jealousy over anyone or anything which takes time away from them. “Why do you want to hang out with your family and friends? I love you so much and want to spend all my free time with you. Why don't you want the same? I should be enough for you.”
- Threatening to kill themselves, you, or someone you love if you break up with them. “If you ever leave me, I'll kill myself. I can't live without you.”
- Blaming or holding you responsible for their emotions or behavior. “The only reason I yelled at you was because you made me so angry.”
- Making you check in with them or respond to every text or call. “You need to let me know who will be there, text me when you get there, when you leave, and respond to all my messages so I know you are okay. I just worry about you.” Note: This is appropriate behavior in the context of a parent-child relationship.
- Gaslighting you to convince you that your perception of a situation was inaccurate. Gaslighting is the attempt to make you believe that you didn’t hear, see, or experience what you heard, saw, or experienced. “I never said that. There you go, making up things again. Why do you always make me look like the bad guy?”
- Criticizing or insulting you.
- Extreme jealousy, insecurity, or explosive temper or anger.
- Calling you names or putting you down.
- Telling you that you are lucky to be with them, or that you are nothing without them.
- Making false accusations, such as accusing you of cheating, or blaming you for their cheating.
Warning signs or examples of stalking
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, military bases, tribal lands, Washington D.C., and territories of the United States. The United States Department of Justice defines stalking as “…a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.”
- Driving by or showing up at your house, school, job, or other location without being invited or wanted.
- Checking your phone, messages, or social media without permission.
- Using social media or other technology to locate, track, or monitor you.
- Constantly calling or texting you against your wishes.
Other dating violence warning signs or examples
- Pressuring or forcing you to use drugs or alcohol.
- Blaming their behavior on the use of drugs or alcohol.
- Pressuring or forcing you to do sexual acts with them or with others.
- Pressuring or forcing you to do something you do not want to do. This could include putting you in dangerous places or situations, being out after curfew, or skipping school.
- Refusing to accept “no” as an answer.
- Not allowing you to make decisions or do things you want to do.
- Telling you what you can eat.
- Telling you who you can be friends with.