Dating and Domestic Violence


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Caution: Please be aware that phone, tablet, computer and other device activity may be monitored. It can be safer for victims and survivors to obtain information using a device a perpetrator does not have potential access to. For more information, visit or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline • 800.799.7233 or 800.787.3224 (TTY).

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20 people in the U.S. become a victim of rape, physical abuse or stalking by an intimate partner every minute. An estimated 22% of women and 14% of men are kicked, hit with a hard object, intentionally burned, or are subjected to other forms of severe physical violence at the hands of their intimate partners. During the years 2003-2012, domestic violence accounted for 21% of all violent victimizations in the U.S. Intimate partner violence (violence committed by a current or former boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse) accounted for the vast majority of domestic violence victimizations.

That said, federal and state laws and CSU/Cal State LA policies prohibit dating and domestic violence, as well as sexual violence, stalking, and other forms of misconduct. This prohibition applies to students, employees, and others; as well as to conduct both on and off-campus. Perpetrators can be subject to campus sanctions such as suspension, expulsion, and employment termination; as well as arrest, criminal prosecution, restitution, and civil justice. Victims and survivors have numerous rights granted by federal and state laws (see Survivors' Rights). Additionally, dating and domestic violence are also considered to be Title IX violations.

Domestic Violence Knows No Boundaries

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Healthy Relationships

Whether or not a relationship is a Saturday night hookup or a "long-term" relationship, healthy relationships are based on a foundation of respect. In healthy relationships:

  • Each partner feels safe.
  • There is open and honest communication.
  • Partners trust each other.
  • Boundaries are respected.
  • There is fair negotiation.
  • Partners encourage and allow each other to spend time with family and friends.
  • Partners are able to express themselves without fear.
  • Consent is a cornerstone.
  • There is equality.
  • Partners are considerate and support each other's wellbeing.
  • Each person is dependable and responsible.
  • Partners aren't required to check in.
  • Conflicts are resolved in a fair manner without intimidation or the threat of violence.
  • Each partner values the other.
  • Partners respect each other's right to privacy.

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Abusive Relationships

Whether abuse is committed by an intimate partner, immediate family member or other relative, or another individual, abusive relationships are based on inequality and the nonconsensual exercising of power and control over another person. Abusers use a variety of tactics designed to establish fear and exert control. The warning signs or the specifics of what these tactics look like vary depending on the individuals involved.

Abusive behavior can comprise non-criminal as well as criminal conduct. Non-criminal abusive behaviors are common components of dating and domestic violence and often lead to and occur simultaneously with criminal conduct. This might include withholding assistive devices or hormones, threatening to "out" a partner, and other controlling behaviors. Like the criminal aspects of dating and domestic violence, other forms of abuse are perpetrated to exert control over, humiliate, and harm current or former partners.

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

The Power and Control Wheel

The Power and Control Wheel was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) of Duluth, MN to illustrate what female victims of domestic violence commonly experience. The Wheel describes strategies used by abusers to exert power and control over their victims - coercion and threats; economic abuse; emotional abuse; intimidation; isolation; male privilege; minimizing, denying and blaming; using children; and violence (physical and sexual).

Since the Wheel's creation, dating and domestic violence in LGBT relationships, abuse in immigrant populations, cultural and societal contexts, and other adaptions have been developed by DAIP and other agencies. The original Wheel and subsequent adaptations are useful tools in identifying and understanding abusive relationships. For information on the original Power and Control Wheel, click on The Duluth Model.

Immigrant Women    |    Individuals with Disabilities and Their Caregivers    |    LGBT Relationships    |    Military

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Are You Being Abused?

The National Domestic Violence Hotline's Relationship Spectrum is a quick and easy way to determine how a relationship measures up — healthy, unhealthy or abusive.

In addition, the National Domestic Violence Hotline recommends watching out for these and other red flags. If you're experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call the hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY) to talk about what's going on.

  • Telling you that you can never do anything right.
  • Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs.
  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you.
  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children.
  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons.
  • Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away.

  • Controlling every penny spent in the household.
  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do.
  • Preventing you from working or attending school.
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets.
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don't want to or do things sexually you're not comfortable with.
  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members.
  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses.
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions.
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

The National Domestic Violence Hotline also identifies these additional:

Examples of Dating and Domestic Violence

Digital Abuse

Digital abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online. You may be experiencing digital abuse if your partner:

  • Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites.
  • Sends you negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online.
  • Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others to keep constant tabs on you.
  • Puts you down in their status updates.
  • Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return.
  • Pressures you to send explicit video.
  • Steals or insists to be given your passwords.
  • Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.
  • Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.
  • Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, etc.

Emotional Abuse

You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner exerts control through:

  • Calling you names, insulting you or continually criticizing you
  • Refusing to trust you and acting jealous or possessive
  • Trying to isolate you from family and friends
  • Monitoring where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
  • Demanding to know hwere you are every minute
  • Punishing you by withholding affection
  • Threatening to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets
  • Humiliating you in any way
  • Blaming you for the abuse
  • Gaslightling
  • Serially cheating on you and then blaming you for his or her behavior
  • Cheating to prove that they are more desired, worthy, etc. than you are
  • Attempting to control your appearance; what you wear, how much/little makeup you wear, etc.
  • Telling you that you will never find anyone better, or that you are lucky to be with a person like them

Financial Abuse

Economic or financial abuse is when an abusive partner extends their power and control into the area of finances. This abuse can take different forms, including an abusive partner:

  • Giving an allowance and closely watching how you spend it or demanding receipts for purchases
  • Placing your paycheck in their bank account and denying you access to it
  • Preventing you fro viewing or having access to bank accounts
  • Forbidding you to work or limiting the hours that you can work
  • Maxing out credit cards in your name without permission or not paying the bills on credit cards, which could ruin your credit score
  • Stealing money from or your family and friends
  • Using funds from children's savings accounts without your permission
  • Living in your home but refuing to work or contribute to the household
  • Making you give them your tax returns or confiscating yoint tax returns
  • Refusing to give you money to pay for necessities/shared expenses like food, clothing, transportation, or medical care and medicine

Physical Abuse

You may be experiencing physical abuse if your partner has done or repeatedly does any of the following tactics of abuse:

  • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
  • Forbidding you from eating or sleeping
  • Damaging your property they're angry (throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors, etc.)
  • Using weapons to threaten to hurt you, or actually hurting you with weapons
  • Trapping you in your home or keeps you fro leaving
  • Preventing you from calling the police or seeking medical attention
  • Harming your children
  • Abandoning you in unfamiliar places
  • Driving recklessly or dangerously when you are in the car with them
  • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol (especially if you've had a substance abuse problem in the past)

Reproductive Coercion

Reproductive coercion is a form of power and control where one partner strips the other of the ability to control their own reproductive system. It is sometimes difficult to identify this coercion because other forms of abuse are often occuring simultaneously.

Reproductive coercion can be exerted in many ways:

  • Refusing to use a condom or other type of birth control
  • Breaking or removing a condom during intercourse
  • Lying about their methods of birth control (for example, lying about having a vasectomy, lying about being on the pill)
  • Refusing to "pull out" if that is the agreed upon method of birth control
  • Forcing you to not use any birth control (for example, the pill, condom, shot, ring, etc.)
  • Removing birth control methods (for example, rings, IUDs, contraceptive patches)
  • Sabotaging irth control methods (for example, poking holes in condoms, tampering with pills or flushing them down the toilet)
  • Withholding finances needed to purchase birth control
  • Monitoring your menstrual cycles
  • Forcing pregnancy and not supporting your decision about when or if you want to have a child
  • Forcing you to get an abortion, or preventing you from getting one
  • Threatening you or acting violent if you don't comply with their wishes to either end or continue a pregnancy
  • Continually keeping you pregnant (getting you pregnant again shortly after you give birth)

Reproductive coercion can also come in the form of pressure, guild and shame from an abusing partner. Some examples are if your abusing partner is constantly talking about having children or making you feel guilty for not having or wanting children with them - especially if you already have kids with someone else.

Sexual Abuse & Coercion

Sexually abusive methods of retaining power and control include an abusive partner:

  • Forcing you to dress in a sexual way
  • Insulting you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names
  • Forcing or manipulating you into having sex or performing sexual acts
  • Holding you down during sex
  • Demanding sex when you're sick, tired or after hurting you
  • Hurting you with weapons or objects during sex
  • Involving other people in sexual activities with you against your will
  • Ignoring your feelings regarding sex
  • Forcing you to watch pornography
  • Purposefully trying to pass on a sexually transmitted disease to you

Sexual coercion

Sexual coercion lies on the 'continuum' of sexually aggressive behavior. It can vary from being egged on and persuaded, to being forced to have contact. It can be verbal and emotional, in the form of statements that make you feel pressure, guilt, or shaame. You can also be made to feel forced through more subtle actions. For example, an abusive partner:

  • Making you feel like you owe them - For example, because you're in a relationship, because you've had sex before, because they spent money on you or bought you a gift
  • Giving you drugs and alcohol to "loosen up" your inhibitions
  • Playing on the fact that you're in a relationship, saying things such as: "Sex is the way to prove your love for me," "If I don't get sex from you I'll get it somewhere else"
  • Reacting negatively with sadness, anger or resentment if you say no or don't immediately agree to something
  • Continuing to pressure you after you say no
  • Making you feel threatened or afraid of what might happen if you say no
  • Trying to normalize their sexual expections, for example "I need it, I'm a man"

Even if your partner isn't forcing you to do sexual acts against your will, being made to feel obligated is coercion in itself. Dating someone, being in a relationship, or being married never means that you owe your partner intimacy of any kind.

 

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Criminal Dating and Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Defined

According to California Family Code §6211 and Penal Code §13700, domestic violence is abuse perpetrated against:

  • A spouse or former spouse.

  • A cohabitant or former cohabitant, as defined in §6209.

  • A person with whom the respondent is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.

  • A person with whom the respondent has had a child.

  • Others (e.g., child, relative) depending on circumstances.

Abuse Defined

Abuse is defined by California Family Code §6203 and Penal Code §13700 as intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause:

  • Bodily injury.

  • Sexual assault.

  • Placing a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.

  • Engaging in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined pursuant to California Family Code §6320.

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Related Crimes

Abusive relationships are often associated with crimes (as defined by the California Penal Code) other than domestic violence which include:

  • Battery (§242): Intentional and illegal use of force or violence against another person.

  • Child abuse and neglect (§11164-11174.3): Willful abuse, harming, unlawful corporal punishment or injury, neglect, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation of a child (person under 18 years of age).

  • Child witnessing domestic violence (§1170.76): Committing or attempting sexual battery, an assault with a deadly weapon or inflicting corporal injuries in the presence of a child or where a child has witnessed the crimes.

  • Corporal injury (§273.5): Intentional infliction of a corporal injury which results in a traumatic condition. A traumatic condition is a wound or injury (external or internal) caused by physical force. It includes, but is not limited to, minor and serious injuries caused by strangulation or suffucation (impeding normal breathing or blood flow by applying pressure on the throat or neck.

  • Criminal threats (§422): Threatening to commit a crime which will cause death or signficant injury-even when there is no intention of carrying out the threat-that due to circumstances surrounding the threat the threat is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific that the person threatened believes it will be carried out and results in sustained fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family.

  • Stalking (§646.9): Willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassment of another person that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose; and making a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family.

  • Additional crimes such as sexual assault, theft and robbery, trespassing, violation of protection/restraining orders, vandalism, and murder.

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Dating and Domestic Violence as Defined by CSU Policies

CSU Executive Order 1096     |     CSU Executive Order 1097

The CSU prohibits Dating and Domestic Violence, and Stalking. Dating and Domestic Violence, and Stalking are often based on Gender. CSU prohibits all such misconduct whether or not it is based on Gender.

Dating Violence is abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social or dating relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. This may include someone the victim just met; i.e., at a party, introduced through a friend, or on a social networking website. For purposes of this definition, “abuse” means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another. Abuse does not include non-physical, emotional distress or injury.

Domestic Violence is abuse committed against someone who is a current or former spouse; current or former cohabitant; someone with whom the Respondent has a child; someone with whom the Respondent has or had a dating or engagement relationship; or a person similarly situated under California domestic or family violence law. Cohabitant means two unrelated persons living together for a substantial period of time, resulting in some permanency of relationship. It does not include roommates who do not have a romantic, intimate, or sexual relationship. Factors that may determine whether persons are cohabiting include, but are not limited to: (1) sexual relations between the Parties while sharing the same living quarters; (2) sharing of income or expenses; (3) joint use or ownership of property; (4) whether the Parties hold themselves out as spouses; (5) the continuity of the relationship; and, (6) the length of the relationship. For purposes of this definition, “abuse” means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another. Abuse does not include non-physical, emotional distress or injury.

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Additional Information and Resources | References

See Project SAFE's Resources and:

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References

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