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Counseling Center

Division of Student Life and Enrollment

Dating and Relationship Violence

OASIS information is meant to be educational in nature and to help increase dialogue and discussion about this important topic. Refer to ETSU’s Student Sexual Misconduct Policy for specific ETSU policy information.

Relationship Violence is a pattern of behavior in an intimate relationship that is used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation. The patterns of behavior are in the form of repeated use of words or actions that are designed to demean, intimidate, threaten and instill fear. These behaviors can be VERBAL, EMOTIONAL, SEXUAL and/or PHYSICAL.





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Signs of a Battering Personality
- Jealousy
- Controlling Behavior
- Quick Involvement
- Unrealistic Expectations, Double Standards
- Isolation
- Blames Others for Problems
- Blames Others for Feelings
- Hypersensitivity


Definite Signs of a Batterer
- Cruelty to Animals and Children
- "Playful" Use of Force in Sex
- Verbal Abuse
- Rigid Sex /Gender Roles
- Dual Personalities 




Why is Leaving So Difficult?
Emotional Factors
*Insecurity (about being alone, coping)
*Loyalty (he's sick, he needs me)
*Pity (feels sorry for him)
*Responsibility, Wanting to help
*Denial (it's not really that bad)
*Fear (that partner will commit suicide)
*Guilt (believes it's her fault)
*Shame & Humiliation
*Unfounded Optimism/False Hope
*Learned helplessness
*Demolished self-esteem
*Simple exhaustion
*Love (partner can be loving & lovable; honeymoon phase; memories of earlier times)
Situational Factors
*Fear-danger to self & others, retaliation
*Lack of alternative housing
*Social isolation – family, friends, community
*Lack of understanding – family, friends, community
*Fear of unknown; fear of police/court involvement
*"Acceptable violence"- acclimated over time
*No knowledge of resources
*Time – needed to plan & prepare to leave
Personal Belief Factors
*Religious Beliefs
*Cultural Beliefs
*Duty to make relationship work for image, children, etc
*Responsibility (gender roles – up to her to make it work)
*Belief in the "American dream" or happily ever after story
*Belief that family-of-origin violence is standard and normal
*Family & Friends pressure to work on relationship issues


Relationship violence does not discriminate.  Violence does not recognize gender, ethnicity, color, socio-economic status, sexual/affectional orientation or age.  If you feel you may be in a relationship of power and control, it is not your fault and you are not to blame.  The ETSU Counseling Center (423-439-3333) can offer support and confidentiality as you explore your options towards staying safe and taking care of yourself.  If you are in immediate danger, call ETSU Public Safety (9-4480) or 911.

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