Grand Valley State University Women's Center

Dating Violence and Domestic Violence

If you have any questions about any of the information on this page, the Grand Valley State University’s Women’s Center can assist you. The Women’s Center can advocate for and help support you or a victim/survivor of sexual violence.

If you have experienced sexual violence, it can sometimes be hard to know exactly what you should do next. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, rape, stalking and dating and domestic violence. As a Grand Valley State University student, there are many options and resources available to you if you have experience sexual violence. Most of these options are free of cost and are available 24/7.

It is always the victim/survivors decision as to what they want to do. Filing a police report or requesting a judicial review might be the right step for some, but it is not always the route every victim/survivor wishes to take. Immediately following an incident of sexual violence, it might be important for the victim/survivor to seek medical attention. While visiting the emergency room of a hospital might be appropriate, many domestic violence shelters and crisis centers offer examinations specifically for victim/survivors of rape and sexual assault.


 Defining Domestic Violence and Dating Violence

Domestic violence and dating violence is behaviors or physical force that intimidate, manipulate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, hurt, injure or wound someone in order to obtain an/or maintain power or control over another. There are many different types of domestic violence, including physical, emotional/verbal, sexual and technological. Dating violence can occur in any gender combination, across all demographics and regardless of religion. In a healthy relationship, there is an equal balance of power and control; no one partner is continually dominate or controlling.


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Behaviors of an Abusive Partner

The issues of power and control are at the heart of relationship violence. In most abusive relationships, the batterer uses the following behaviors to gain and maintain power and control. Any combination of these behaviors may be present, and the list is not exhaustive.

Intimidation: smashing things, abusing pets, destroying victim's property, displaying weapons

Anger/ Emotional Abuse: Putting the victim down, calling him or her names, making him or her think he or she's crazy, playing mind games, humiliating the victim, making him or her feel guilty

Isolation: Controlling what the victim does, who he or she sees and talks to, limiting outside involvement, using jealousy to justify actions

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming: Making light of the abuse, saying the abuse didn't happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying the victim caused the abusive behaviors

Threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to harm the victim, threatening to leave the relationship, threatening to commit suicide

Sexual Coercion: Manipulating or making threats to get sex, getting the victim drugged or drunk to get sex

Help is available for individuals in abusive relationships. If you are concerned about your relationship or are wondering how to help a friend who is in an abusive relationship, please consider accessing any of the options or resources listed on our website. Please visit the following links for further information:

Options and Resources

GVSU Student Code: Assault, Stalking, Violence

How To End An Abusive Relationship

Source: University of New Hampshire SHARPP

Page last modified February 25, 2014