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Relationship Violence

Get Educated!

What is Relationship Violence?

verbalabuseRelationship violence is about power and control; the abusive partner uses a number of different tactics to control a current or former partner. Abuse can be physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, spiritual, and/or financial. Violence can happen in any intimate relationship. Abuse in relationships is often cyclical, and the same partner can be both loving and abusive.

Learn more about Power and Control.

Learn more about the Cycle of Violence.

If You Are in an Abusive Relationship

It is not your fault, and you do not deserve to be treated this way. There is NOTHING you could do to deserve to be hurt or put down by someone you care about. Please come talk to an advocate at the STOP Violence program or the SAFE Project. We can talk about what's going on and what your options are. We won't make you do anything, and we support your decisions, even if you decide to stay in the relationship.

If You Know Someone Who Is Being Abused

If you think someone you care about is in an abusive relationship, we recommend:

Communicate your concerns.  Tell them how you feel, in a supportive way. They may not think they are being abused, but if you raise your concerns they may start to see problems in the relationship, and they'll know that they can come to you for help.

Be supportive.  Try not to become upset if your friend is not ready to break of the relationship. Hold back from telling your friend they are wrong for staying in or returning to an abusive relationship.  Help your friend see that they are not to blame for the violence and that changing behavior won't stop the abuse.

Avoid tough love. It can take time for someone to be able to leave an abusive relationship, both emotionally and logistically. Giving them ultimatums or withdrawing from your relationship with them will only make it harder for them to leave.

Learn about resources. Even if they aren't ready to reach out for help, you can get the information and learn about resources. That way, when they are ready, you'll have the information they need.

Get support for yourself. Helping someone who is being abused can be difficult and emotionally draining. Consider talking to a counselor or reach out to STOP Violence or the SAFE Project to get support for yourself.



  • Approximately 11% of UW students reported that they were involved in an abusive relationship, whether emotionally, physically, or sexually (ACHA-NCHA II Survey, 2011).
  • In 1 of 5 college dating relationships, one of the partners is being abused (C. Sellers and M. Bromley, 1996).
  • 32% of college students report dating violence by a previous partner, and 21% report violence by a current partner (C. Sellers and M. Bromley, 1996).
  • Forty-two percent of women in one study said they had been victims of sexual coercion while dating in college. Of those women, 70 percent did not seek help (American College Health Association, 1997).

"Crazy Love"

Why Domestic Violence Victims Stay

Domestic Violence


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