About Relationship Violence

Interpersonal violence (also known as dating violence, relationship violence, or domestic violence) is abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other partner. Interpersonal violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. While each relationship that has violence in it is unique, here are some common red flags:

  • Your partner tries to controls your friends, your activities, or the way you spend money
  • You feel that you cannot do anything right for your partner
  • Your partner constantly needs to be in communication with you and insists on tracking your location, walking you to class, or texting
  • Your partner humiliates, criticizes or yells at you, even in front of others
  • Your partner ignores or belittles your opinions or accomplishments
  • Your partner blames you for their own behavior
  • Your partner threatens to hurt themselves if you break up with them
  • Your partner forces you to engage in physical closeness or sexual activity
  • Your partner threatens to “out” you for your sexual orientation or sex practices

Fact vs. Fiction


  • Excessive jealousy, constant communication, tracking one’s location, and a partner insisting on spending all of their time together is a sign of love.
  • Intimate partner violence is only physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, pushing. If an abusive relationship is not physical yet, it will always become physical.
  • Drugs, alcohol, stress, and unmet mental wellness needs are the causes of relationship violence.
  • Someone staying with an abusive partner is a sign that the abuse is not serious or that the person experiencing the abuse is okay with being treated that way.


  • Abusive partners often say they do this because they love their partner. However, these behaviors act as a way to control and isolate another person.
  • Relationship violence often escalates over time, but it does not always become physical. Abusers might also use tools like manipulation and belittling their partner over physical abuse.
  • These factors can be factors in an abusive partner’s life and exacerbate abuse but never cause it.
  • It is extremely hard to leave because abusive partners often isolate their partners from friends and family, threaten to harm themselves, refuse to accept the break up, and for many other reasons. Leaving a relationship is also the most dangerous time for a survivor of intimate partner violence. Not leaving does not negate or invalidate one’s experience with abuse.

Survivor Support

If you or someone you care about has experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual exploitation, there are many resources available:

  • Confidential advocate – to schedule a meeting with the confidential advocate, call 336-278-5009 or email akrauss3@elon.edu.
  • Safeline – 24/7 confidential advocacy phone line available at 336-278-3333.
  • Counseling services – located at the R. N. Ellington Center for Health and Wellness, 301 South O’Kelly Avenue. To make an appointment go to their website.

For more resources and options for support, please go to the Get Help Now page.