3 Things to Know About Safe Dating and Sexual Violence Prevention

Communication is essential in a healthy relationship. Managing uncomfortable emotions, like anger and jealousy, is one way to keep relationships healthy and non-violent. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. It is important to recognize signs of an unhealthy relationship and know when to end it. Feeling safe in a relationship is crucial, and violence in any relationship is never acceptable.

Dating violence can happen to anyone. There are ways to help you identify dating violence and protect yourself. It often starts with teasing and name calling. These behaviors are often thought to be a “normal” part of a relationship. Often, violence is used as a way to be in control or maintain power in a relationship.  Your dating partner should never put you down or make you feel bad about yourself. You should never be forced to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. This could include inappropriate touching, sexual intercourse and social media. And ,remember, if you are in an abusive relationship, it is not your fault.

1)    Trust your gut: If something does not feel right, don’t question it. When you’re with someone new and get a feeling that something isn’t right—or you feel uncomfortable—trust your instincts and exit the situation.
2)    Make sure to tell someone where you are going: Always charge your cell phone and keep it on you. Let a friend or family member know where you are going and whom you are meeting. Check in either by text message and/or phone call. Call or text a friend when you get to the date and also when you leave the date to let them know you made it home safely.

3)    Meet in a public place: Don’t meet at their place or have them pick you up from yours. The first few dates should be in a public place. Choose a place that is quiet enough to get to know each other but has plenty of people around, like a restaurant or coffee shop. Avoid private places until you know your date better. Make sure to have your own transportation just in case you want to leave the date, and carry enough money to catch a cab if necessary.