Abusive Dating Relationships

Physical and sexual violence in early adult relationships often starts during teenage dating when males and females form their first conclusions about what to expect and accept from each other. In many cases, teenagers are predisposed to accept physical abuse because of exposure to it in their homes, either as victims or witnesses. Only one in 25 adolescent victims seeks professional help. Members of the LGBT community experience violence in their intimate relationships at about the same rate as heterosexuals.

Abusive relationships often involve a pattern of repeated verbal, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse that escalates the longer the relationship continues. Some of the indicators of an abusive relationship are verbal abuse; isolation from friends and loved ones; fear of the partner’s temper; fear of abandonment by the partner; accepting the partner’s controlling behavior; fear of intimidation; the distortion of the partner’s hurtful behavior; assuming responsibility for the partner’s abusive behavior; feeling trapped; and fear of leaving the abusive partner. Some abusive relationships include behaviors that are in violation of the Code of Student Conduct and/or state laws.

If you become aware that a student is in an abusive relationship:


  • When possible, see the student in private.
  • Be aware that the student may be feeling vulnerable and fearful.
  • Be supportive of the student and aware that being a victim of an abusive relationship involves many psychological factors.
  • Refer the student to the Dial Help victim service line at 866-661-5589.
  • Refer the student to Counseling Services, 906-487-2538.
  • Report the incident to the Title IX coordinator. Note that anonymous reports can be made.
  • Be aware that interventions from numerous sources are the best approach to dealing with abusive relationships.
  • Be aware that each intervention increases the probability of a student’s leaving an abusive relationship.
  • Be aware that denial and distortion enable a person to remain in an abusive relationship.
  • Encourage the student to call the police at 906-487-2216 when rape or violence is involved.
  • Consult with the Michigan Tech Public Safety and Police Services, 906-487-2216, if you are concerned about the student’s safety.
  • Encourage the student to connect with family, friends, or a support system.
  • If students would prefer to anonymously report the situation, direct them to the Michigan Tech TIP Line, 906-487-0847.


  • Ignore or minimize the situation.
  • Speak to the student in a derogatory manner.
  • Lecture the student about his/her poor judgment.