October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The terms domestic violence, intimate partner violence or abuse, and dating violence all refer to the same thing-a pattern of behaviors that are used to gain control in a relationship through intimidation. Domestic violence is not specific to any one group of people. People of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, religions, income levels, and sexual orientations may experience domestic violence. It can be hard to look at our own relationships, but it’s important to do. See below for examples of healthy and unhealthy behaviors you or your partners may exhibit:

Healthy Behaviors:

  • Respects values, beliefs, and opinions
  • Gives space outside of relationship
  • Asks for consent
  • Openly discusses issues and disagreements without judgement Honesty without fearing the response
  • Enjoys spending time together

Unhealthy Behaviors:

  • Talking down, demeaning tones
  • Isolates from spending time with your family and friends Excessive texts and calls when not together-always needing to know where someone is
  • Pressure to have sex, to not use birth control, disrespects physical boundaries
  • Threatens, yells, swears, argues, interrupts, mocks, uses loud tones, name-calling
  • Going through phone
  • Hitting or other physical harm

If you or a friend are experiencing any of the above, you are not alone. 21% of college students report experiencing dating violence by a current partner (Libertin, 2017). 32% report experiencing dating violence by a previous partner (Libertin, 2017). The true number is believed to be higher, as 70% of younger victims do not realize what they are experiencing or resist reporting (Libertin, 2017).

This list does include every possible behavior. If you have questions about behaviors you have experienced, please reach out for support:

If you would benefit from support related to sexual or relationship violence, connect with the confidential and anonymous SAFE Hotline at 781-239-7233. A trained advocate is available to speak with you 24/7/365.


College, Babson. “Sensitive Crimes.” Babson College, www.babson.edu/offices-and-services/public-safety- department/safety-and-crime-prevention/sensitive-crimes/.

Publishing, Harvard Health. “Recognizing Domestic Partner Abuse.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/recognizing-domestic-partner-abuse.

Libertin, Anna. “Donate Now.” HAWC, 30 Nov. 2017, hawcdv.org/the-truth-about-domestic-violence-on- college-campuses/.
“10 Signs of a Healthy Relation.” One Love Foundation, 13 Apr. 2020, www.joinonelove.org/signs-healthy- relationship/.