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Relationship Violence

 Relationship Violence*

Relationship violence is controlling, aggressive or abusive behavior in an intimate relationship. Research shows that 1 in 3 college students have been abused by an intimate partner.¹ Relationship violence can involve one or more types of abuse, including emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

It is important to be aware that:

  • Emotional, physical and sexual violence work hand-in-hand to keep the perpetrator in control.
  • It is likely that violence will escalate in frequency and intensity over time.
  • The progression of violence will only stop when the abusive person makes a conscious choice to stop the behavior. This may happen when the person who has been abused is no longer accessible (for example, when the abused person leaves the relationship or transfers to a different school).
  • Note: If the abusive person has chosen to not stop the abusive behavior, the violence may escalate when the abused person takes action to stop the violence (for instance, by leaving the relationship or getting outside assistance from a friend or professional). 

If you think that you may be in an abusive relationship, help is available. Contact a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).


*Adapted from
¹Sellers & Bromley (1996). "Violent behavior in college student dating relationships." Journal of Contemporary Justice.