• 1 in 3 college students report dating violence by a previous partner, and 1 in 5 report violence by a current partner. Source

  • Females ages 16 to 24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate partner violence -- at a rate almost triple the national average. Source

  • More than half of all college students (57%) say it is difficult to identify dating abuse. Source

  • 58% of college students say they don’t know what to do to help someone who is a victim of dating abuse. Source

  • 38% of college students say they don’t know how to get help for themselves if they were a victim of dating abuse. Source

  • On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. Source

  • 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Source

  • Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively). Source

  • From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female. Source

  • For more statistics, visit and

    Red Flags

    Victim Blaming

    Abusers will often place the blame of the abuse on the victim, making them feel like they deserve it.

    Emotional Abuse

    Not all abuse is physical. Emotional abuse has many forms and can be just as damaging as physical and sexual abuse.


    First year students are especially at risk for being targeted as they have not yet built a support network.

    Physical Abuse

    You may be experiencing physical abuse if your partner has done or repeatedly does any of the following tactics of abuse:

    • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
    • Forbidding you from eating or sleeping
    • Damaging your property when they’re angry (throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors, etc.)
    • Using weapons to threaten to hurt you, or actually hurting you with weapons
    • Trapping you in your home or keeps you from leaving
    • Preventing you from calling the police or seeking medical attention
    • Harming your children
    • Abandoning you in unfamiliar places
    • Driving recklessly or dangerously when you are in the car with them
    • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol (especially if you’ve had a substance abuse problem in the past)
    • Source:
    Emotional Abuse

    You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if you partner exerts control through:

    • Calling you names, insulting you or continually criticizing you
    • Refusing to trust you and acting jealous or possessive
    • Trying to isolate you from family or friends
    • Monitoring where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
    • Demanding to know where you are every minute
    • Punishing you by withholding affection
    • Threatening to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets
    • Humiliating you in any way
    • Blaming you for the abuse
    • Gaslighting
    • Accusing you of cheating and being often jealous of your outside relationships
    • Serially cheating on you and then blaming you for his or her behavior
    • Cheating on you intentionally to hurt you and then threatening to cheat again
    • Cheating to prove that they are more desired, worthy, etc. than you are
    • Attempting to control your appearance: what you wear, how much/little makeup you wear, etc.
    • Telling you that you will never find anyone better, or that you are lucky to be with a person like them
    • Source:
    Sexual Abuse & Coercion

    Sexually abusive methods of retaining power and control include an abusive partner:

    • Forcing you to dress in a sexual way
    • Insulting you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names
    • Forcing or manipulating you into to having sex or performing sexual acts
    • Holding you down during sex
    • Demanding sex when you’re sick, tired or after hurting you
    • Hurting you with weapons or objects during sex
    • Involving other people in sexual activities with you against your will
    • Ignoring your feelings regarding sex
    • Forcing you to watch pornography
    • Purposefully trying to pass on a sexually transmitted disease to you
    • Source:

    Sexual coercion

    Sexual coercion lies on the ‘continuum’ of sexually aggressive behavior. It can vary from being egged on and persuaded, to being forced to have contact. It can be verbal and emotional, in the form of statements that make you feel pressure, guilt, or shame. You can also be made to feel forced through more subtle actions. For example, an abusive partner:

    • Making you feel like you owe them — ex. Because you’re in a relationship, because you’ve had sex before, because they spent money on you or bought you a gift
    • Giving you drugs and alcohol to “loosen up” your inhibitions
    • Playing on the fact that you’re in a relationship, saying things such as: “Sex is the way to prove your love for me,” “If I don’t get sex from you I’ll get it somewhere else”
    • Reacting negatively with sadness, anger or resentment if you say no or don’t immediately agree to something
    • Continuing to pressure you after you say no
    • Making you feel threatened or afraid of what might happen if you say no
    • Trying to normalize their sexual expectations: ex. “I need it, I’m a man”
    • Source:

    Even if your partner isn’t forcing you to do sexual acts against your will, being made to feel obligated is coercion in itself. Dating someone, being in a relationship, or being married never means that you owe your partner intimacy of any kind.

    Reproductive Coercion

    Reproductive coercion is a form of power and control where one partner strips the other of the ability to control their own reproductive system. It is sometimes difficult to identify this coercion because other forms of abuse are often occurring simultaneously.

    Reproductive coercion can be exerted in many ways:

    • Refusing to use a condom or other type of birth control
    • Breaking or removing a condom during intercourse
    • Lying about their methods of birth control (ex. lying about having a vasectomy, lying about being on the pill)
    • Refusing to “pull out” if that is the agreed upon method of birth control
    • Forcing you to not use any birth control (ex. the pill, condom, shot, ring, etc.)
    • Removing birth control methods (ex. rings, IUDs, contraceptive patches)
    • Sabotaging birth control methods (ex. poking holes in condoms, tampering with pills or flushing them down the toilet)
    • Withholding finances needed to purchase birth control
    • Monitoring your menstrual cycles
    • Forcing pregnancy and not supporting your decision about when or if you want to have a child
    • Forcing you to get an abortion, or preventing you from getting one
    • Threatening you or acting violent if you don’t comply with their wishes to either end or continue a pregnancy
    • Continually keeping you pregnant (getting you pregnant again shortly after you give birth)
    • Source:

    Reproductive coercion can also come in the form of pressure, guilt and shame from an abusive partner. Some examples are if your abusive partner is constantly talking about having children or making you feel guilty for not having or wanting children with them — especially if you already have kids with someone else.

    Financial Abuse

    Economic or financial abuse is when an abusive partner extends their power and control into the area of finances. This abuse can take different forms, including an abusive partner:

    • Giving an allowance and closely watching how you spend it or demanding receipts for purchases
    • Placing your paycheck in their bank account and denying you access to it
    • Preventing you from viewing or having access to bank accounts
    • Forbidding you to work or limiting the hours that you can work
    • Maxing out credit cards in your name without permission or not paying the bills on credit cards, which could ruin your credit score
    • Stealing money from you or your family and friends
    • Using funds from children’s savings accounts without your permission
    • Living in your home but refusing to work or contribute to the household
    • Making you give them your tax returns or confiscating joint tax returns
    • Refusing to give you money to pay for necessities/shared expenses like food, clothing, transportation, or medical care and medicine
    • Source:
    Digital Abuse

    Digital abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online. You may be experiencing digital abuse if your partner:

    • Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites.
    • Sends you negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online.
    • Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others to keep constant tabs on you.
    • Puts you down in their status updates.
    • Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return.
    • Pressures you to send explicit video.
    • Steals or insists to be given your passwords.
    • Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.
    • Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.
    • Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, etc.
    • Source:

    You never deserve to be mistreated, online or off. Remember:

    • Your partner should respect your relationship boundaries.
    • It is ok to turn off your phone. You have the right to be alone and spend time with friends and family without your partner getting angry.
    • You do not have to text any pictures or statements that you are uncomfortable sending, especially nude or partially nude photos, known as “sexting.”
    • You lose control of any electronic message once your partner receives it. They may forward it, so don’t send anything you fear could be seen by others.
    • You do not have to share your passwords with anyone.
    • Know your privacy settings. Social networks such as Facebook allow the user to control how their information is shared and who has access to it. These are often customizable and are found in the privacy section of the site. Remember, registering for some applications (apps) require you to change your privacy settings.
    • Be mindful when using check-ins like Facebook Places and foursquare. Letting an abusive partner know where you are could be dangerous. Also, always ask your friends if it’s ok for you to check them in. You never know if they are trying to keep their location secret.
    • You have the right to feel comfortable and safe in your relationship, even online.
    • Source:

    It is never too late to get help. If you see a red flag in your own or someone else's relationship, there are tools and resources available to you.

    MIT Resources

    MIT Violence Prevention and Repsonse (VPR) at MIT Medical advocate hotline 617-253-2300 (24 hours a day)

    Mental Health and Counseling Service at MIT Medical: 617-253-2916 (Days, 8:30 a.m.– 5 p.m.) 617-253-4481 (Evenings and overnight, 5 p.m.– 8:30 a.m.)

    Urgent Care at MIT Medical: Call 617-253-4481 (24 hours a day) Walk-in 7 a.m.–11 p.m. every day of the year.

    Additional Resources


  • Examining Your Relationship

  • Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships

  • Helping A Friend Who Is Being Abused

  • Healthy Expectations

  • Red Flags For Abusive Relationship

  • Signs of A Healthy Relationship

  • Stalking Myths And Realities

  • Violence Continuums

  • Privacy When Posting Content Online

  • Safety Planning

  • What To Do When Conflict Arises

  • Join The Cause