How To Prevent Relationship Violence

Did you know that 30 percent of women murdered in the US are killed by their boyfriends, husbands, or exes? Or that 20 to 25 percent of college women will experience attempted or complete rape in college? Date rape, intimate violence and relationship abuse are issues that many women face every day. We talked to New Jersey-based counselor Dari Dyrness-Olsen, author of Safe Dating for College Women, about what women can do to protect themselves while dating and in a relationship. Here are her top 10 tips for staying safe.

Woman saying no

10 Tips to prevent relationship violence

Dari Dyrness-Olsen, MA, LPC, author of Safe Dating for College Women, is nationally known as "America's Safe Dating Coach." She is currently working with New Jersey legislators on passing the "Safe Dating Law" that will require all public middle and high schools to add Safe Dating Curriculum to their annual health curriculum. Dyrness-Olsen is also working with the national organization Love Is Not Abuse and other states to model what she is doing in New Jersey. Here are her 10 tips to stay safe while you're dating.

1Don't buy into "love is blind"

If relationships started off abusive, then no one would ever date. Dating abuse slowly rears its ugly head over time, as the relationship progresses. Before you know it, you have fallen in love with the person who is treating you badly.

2Know the red flags of dating abuse

Dating abuse is all about power and control over another person. Do you fight a lot? Is he mean to you? Does he put you down? Does he text you obsessively and need to know where you are, who you are with and what you are doing? Does he want you to spend all of your time with him?

3Set the bar high

You deserve to be in a safe, healthy and loving relationship. The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. When you love yourself, you can love other people, and they can love you back in a healthy way.

4Be aware of family dynamics

When kids grow up in abusive families, there is very good chance they will follow in their parents' footsteps. The apple often doesn't fall far from the tree, unless they have received professional help.

5Never depend on a guy

The best lesson I ever learned from my parents was to never depend on anyone else to take care of me. With a divorce rate of more than 50 percent, statistics show you may well end up divorced and having to support yourself and your children.

Up next: More tips to avoid dating abuse >>

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