What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is violence that happens between two partners who are, or were, in an intimate relationship.  This can be a heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bi-sexual couple.


What is teen dating violence?

Teen dating violence is a kind of domestic violence referring specifically to teenagers from 13 through 17 years of age; who were or are currently in a dating/intimate relationship.


What makes a relationship abusive?

An abusive relationship involves one partner having power and control over the other.


What is abuse?

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Abuse includes a variety of behaviors done to maintain power and control over one’s partner. Abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, financial and spiritual. Most abusive relationships begin with emotional abuse and progress to physical and sexual abuse as well.  Abuse gets more severe over time.  Please see the [Teen Power and Control Wheel document] for a better understanding of abuse.




“RED FLAGS” that a relationship may become abusive:


There are common warning signs a relationship is potentially abusive; they include:

  • Extreme jealousy: your partner is very jealous and/or possessive so that they try to limit the time you spend on other relationships such as friendships.
  • Controlling behavior: your partner attempts to control any of your behavior, such as telling you how to dress, whom to be friends with, where you can or cannot go, etc.
  • Rapid progression through the initial stages of the relationship: your relationship moves much faster than normal, with rapid development of emotional and physical intimacy, and your partner is very pushy and demanding when it comes to committing to the relationship.
  • Please see the [Signs To Look For In A Battering Personality] handout for a better understanding of people who may potentially be abusive.


Why are people abusive?

Abuse is a learned behavior. Abusive people are not mentally ill or crazy.  They tend to have grown up in a home where there was abuse.  Somehow they learned that it is “normal” for one partner, typically a man, to have power and control over the other partner, typically a woman.  They do not have the relational skills necessary to have a healthy intimate relationship, however they can learn new healthy behaviors if they are committed to change.


Dating/Domestic Violence Facts

  • 60% of boys who grow up in homes witnessing abuse later abuse their partners.
  • 30% of girls who grow up in homes witnessing abuse later become victims of abuse from their partners.
  • 1 in 4 murders is the result of domestic violence.
  • 1 in 10 teens will be in an abusive relationship.
  • 1 out of 4 teens reported knowing another teen that is physically abused by their partner.


Can they change?

It is important to realize that abusive people have some common personality traits, which include:

  1. Not taking responsibility for their behavior and problems.
  2. Blaming other people for their problems and mistakes.
  3. They have a “short fuse”; the smallest things tend to set them off.  At times it seems your partner is like Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde; one minute they are loving and considerate and the next they are angry and volatile.  It is difficult to figure out what happened that set them off.
  4. They express anger in violent ways, such as slamming doors, punching walls or breaking things.
  5. They abuse alcohol or drugs.

How can I help a friend or family member that is in an abusive relationship?

  • Listen. It is very important that the victim express their feelings, fears and thoughts in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
  • Don’t blame them. Don’t ask “why” questions; these tend to put blame on the victim.
  • Tell them it is not their fault; no one deserves to be abused.
  • Be patient. Do your best to not get frustrated with your friend.  Continue to be there for them, you may be the only supportive person in their life.
  • Recognize that it is extremely difficult to leave an abusive relationship. On average it take a person 7 or 8 times of breaking up and going back until they leave the relationship permanently.
  • Do not spread gossip.  It cannot only put your friend in further danger, but break the trust your friend has in you.
  • Give them the crisis line number, let them know that it is completely confidential and they can call 24-hour a day, seven days per week.


What should I do if I am in an abusive relationship?

We don’t want to tell you what you should do, only you know what is best for you, however we have some suggestions to help you be safe:

  • Remember abuse is not your fault.  Tell a friend, a teacher, a school counselor, a parent, a police officer, or another trusted adult about what you are experiencing.
  • Call the SADVC crisis line at (530) 662-1133 or (916) 371-1907, 24-hrs a day, 7 days per week.
  • Make a safety plan and decide what precautions must be taken to keep you safe (i.e., don’t walk home alone, tell your friends to keep an eye on you, etc.).
  • See the handout [Am I In A Battering Relationship?] for a better understanding of abusive relationships.


Sexual Assault & Date Rape Drug Education


What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual activity (i.e., kissing, groping, oral sex, intercourse, etc.) in which the victim feels forced, coerced, or manipulated. Sexual assault is an act in which sex is used as a weapon. Sexual harassment, molestation, incest and rape are all forms of sexual assault.



  • 78% of all rape victims knew the perpetrator.  On college campuses the percentage of acquaintance rapes rises to 84%.
  • 75% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol.
  • 84% of rapes are not reported to the police.
  • 31% of teenage girls reporting rape identified the perpetrator as their boyfriend.
  • 1 out of 4 women will be sexually assaulted by the age of 21 years.
  • Women between the ages of 16 and 24 are three times more likely to be raped than any other age group.


Kinds of Rape

  • Stranger Rape: victim does not know the perpetrator.
  • Acquaintance Rape: victim knows the perpetrator.
  • Marital Rape: a spouse forces their husband/wife to have sex.
  • Statutory Rape: an adult has sex with a minor; two minors have sexual intercourse (by California law it is illegal for minors to engage in sexual intercourse).


It can be very difficult to report that you’ve been raped by someone you know. Acquaintance rape is a huge violation of trust.


What Should I Do If I Have Been Raped?

– Call 911, a family member, a friend or some other trusted person to accompany you to the hospital.

– Do not shower, bathe, brush your teeth, eat, drink, go to the bathroom or change your clothes until you have received medical attention.

– Even if you do not want to report the rape, it is important you go to the hospital or see a doctor as soon as possible for treatment of injuries, tests for STD’s, pregnancy, etc. and supportive services.

– If you are in a safe place call the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Center Crisis Line:

Woodland/Davis: (530) 662-1133

West Sacramento: (916) 371-1907

– Remember it is not your fault!


Date Rape Drugs

The number one date rape drug is alcohol.  It is illegal to initiate sexual intercourse with someone who is under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating substance.

–    Rohypnol (aka Roofies, Roach, LaRoche, etc.) comes in a tablet form and can be crushed into a powder.  It is illegal in the United States.

–     Ketamine (aka Special K, Vitamin K, “K”, etc.) comes in a liquid or powder form and is an animal tranquilizer.

–     Gammahydroxybutrate (GHB) [aka Gib, Easy Lay, etc.] is an illegal drug that is manufactured in a clear liquid form.


Each of these drugs has similar effects upon ingestion.  Within ten to fifteen minutes a person feels extremely intoxicated.  Within twenty to thirty minutes they feel very drowsy and their respiratory rate slows.  Then they loose consciousness and will be passed out for anywhere from two to six hours, depending how much of the drug they have ingested.


Each of these drugs is essentially colorless, tasteless and odorless. They are most often slipped into alcoholic beverages when the victim is unaware.  The alcohol’s intoxicating effects mask the rapid high intoxication of the drugs. The drugs cause retrograde amnesia; a person has no memory of what happens to them while the drugs are in their body. This is why these are called the “perfect date rape drugs”. The drugs metabolize out of the body within twelve to twenty four hours.


How can I protect myself from date rape drugs?

  • Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • If you choose to drink, do so with friends you trust and designate a sober individual to keep an eye on each of you.
  • Always watch your drink; continuously pay attention to it so that no one has a chance to drug it.
  • If you leave your drink unattended get a fresh one.
  • Don’t accept drinks from someone you don’t know well and trust.
  • Know that drugs can be put in any beverage or food.


What To Do If Someone Ingests A Date Rape Drug

  1. Seek medical attention immediately. There is a high risk they may have respiratory failure and stop breathing.
  2. Tell the physician, nurse, EMT, etc. that you believe they ingested a date rape drug.
  3. Request a special drug screening to detect possible date rape drugs.  These drugs are not detected by simple urinalysis.


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