Dating violence is any mental, physical or sexual violence between people who are not living together. It can also be violence between people who are newly acquainted, for example, at a party, outside, etc.
Many acts of violence remain hidden because people are too ashamed or afraid to report them. People are also often afraid of not being believed. But violence will not go away. Violence has a habit of recurring and becoming (life-)threatening.
- What are the signs of dating violence?
- They behave unpleasantly and justify it with love for you. Later, they apologise, bring flowers and express their love. They promise it will never happen again, but everything is repeated. They convince you that it was all your fault, or blame everyone else.
- They are jealous and do not want you to spend time with friends or family. They control everything – where you go, what you do, who you are with and what you wear. They stalk you. They do not want you to go out, answer the phone or chat to anyone. They know or want to know your inbox and social media passwords. They claim they want to be with you every second. They may threaten to kill themselves.
- They are violent, they shout at you, insult you, hit, mock or humiliate you. They do not take your opinions or feelings into account. Only they are right and they will not take no for an answer. They may spread rumours about you. They throw and break things. They threaten you: ‘If you do not do as I say, I will…’ You feel afraid of them.
- An abusive dating partner may involve you in illegal activities, such as offering you or using alcohol or drugs with you if you are still underage. Then, they may commit a crime against you, and afterwards scare you saying that by going to the police you will get punished instead. This is not true!
- What to do if you think your partner is abusive?
- Talk to your best friend or someone you really trust about your concern.
- Seek help from organisations or associations that can help you, such as the police on 112, the victim support helpline on 116 006, women’s support centres, and the abuser helpline on 6 606 077.
- If you do decide to leave your partner, think carefully about every step – what you will do the next time they call you, when you get together, when they turn up at your door, etc. Be as concrete as possible and avoid lengthy explanations. If your partner continues to contact you in a disturbing way, tell them again in writing that you do not want to communicate with them. If the harassment continues, you can always contact the police and make a report on stalking in a harassing manner.
- Be aware that the abuser may do anything to win you back. However, this does not mean that the violence will disappear – it will happen again later and the violence will only increase.
Do not think that everything is your fault. The abuser is responsible for their own behaviour. You cannot change them, and only a professional and the abuser themselves can help them.
- How can you help if you think your friend is suffering from dating violence?
LISTEN. When a friend tells you about their relationship, listen carefully. This way, you can find out if and how their relationship is working and how it is affecting your friend. Believe your friend, do not blame or judge them.
SHOW THAT YOU CARE. If you feel there is something wrong with a friend’s relationship, tell them so – this is how you care for their life, health and future.
SUPPORT. Be there for your friend and help them seek help if they need it. Ask how you can help. Try to stay by your friend’s side even if they say they do not want your help. Avoid being offended by rejection.
ENCOURAGE. Dare to seek help if your friend is depressed and sad. Contact their parents, a psychologist or a support association.
SEEK HELP. Talk about your concerns regarding your friend to those you trust. Seek help from associations that can help you or your friend.
- Get help
Seek help from the victim support helpline 116 006. Our professionals will listen to you calmly and give you support and advice on issues related to violence. Calling is free of charge and help is available around the clock in Estonian, Russian and English. You can remain anonymous if you wish. If you cannot call or do not wish to talk on the phone, you can also go to palunabi.ee and start an online chat to seek help. If someone’s life or health is in danger, call 112.