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Victims and abusers come from all social and economic backgrounds, faith communities, and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Both females and males can be victims of dating violence, but numerous studies reveal the reality that the majority of victims are females (usually more than 95 percent).
It can range from verbal and emotional abuse — name-calling, constant insults, controlling what one wears, isolation from family or friends — to physical violence and sexual abuse.
“Small controlling behaviors might not seem like a big deal at the time, but they can escalate and eventually put someone at risk,” added Pinero.
“For example, demanding to know where someone is at all times, touching or pinching parts of someone's body in public when they’ve made it clear it’s unwanted, or controlling what type of clothes someone wears—these are all abusive behaviors that violate someone’s boundaries.” The laws about sexual violence and dating violence vary by state and situation.
Identifying these early signs of abuse may provide a chance for a person at risk to exit a relationship safely before further harm occurs. “The answer to the question, ‘What does dating violence look like?
’ isn’t so straightforward—and that’s what can make it difficult to spot.” The warning signs for dating violence can be similar to warning signs for sexual assault and abuse.
As the relationship becomes more involved, the abuser may gradually escalate the use of these behaviors to include severe jealousy, which is not a sign of love as many in our society believe.