Dating & Domestic Violence Awareness Porterville College

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What's The Difference

Across the United States, dating and domestic violence are serious issues. These forms of violence are present in relationships of all kinds. No one, no matter what they have done, deserves to be abused by someone they’ve loved.

When cases of domestic and dating violence are brought to the attention of officials or trusted family and /or friends, there is often a misunderstanding about how the two are defined legally. The following presentation will legally define the difference between the two and identify warning signs and how to help someone end the cycle of abuse.


Domestic violence is any form of abuse that takes place in any relationship. Examples of domestic violence relationships include:

  • Husband/wife
  • Brother/sister, nephew/aunt
  • Boyfriend/girlfriend, longtime partners, etc.

Dating violence is any form of abuse that takes place in a dating relationship.


Penal Code 27305-Domestic Violence / Corporal Injury

California Penal Code 273.5 is the infliction of corporal injury on a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or mother or father of one's child, creating a “traumatic condition.” California Penal Code Section 273.5 can be filed as a felony or a misdemeanor.

As a misdemeanor, it carries a penalty up to one year in county jail.

As a felony, it carries penalties up to four years in state prison.

By “traumatic condition,” Penal Code 273.5 refers to a visible injury on the victim's body, whether significant or slight.

Domestic Violence & Abuse - What's the Difference?

When people think of domestic abuse, they often focus on domestic violence. But domestic abuse includes any attempt by one person in an intimate relationship or marriage to dominate and control the other.

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only:

  • To gain and maintain total control over you.

An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” An abuser uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under their thumb.

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship, and a fear of your partner is the most telling.

  • If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them
  • Constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up

Chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

Cycle of Violence:

Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. This treatment is a power play designed to show you “who is boss.”

Guilt – Your partner feels guilt after abusing you, but not because of their actions. They’re more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for their abusive behavior.

Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what they have done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for provoking them—anything to avoid taking responsibility.

“Normal” behavior – Your partner does everything in their power to regain control and ensure that you’ll stay in the relationship. A perpetrator may act as if nothing has happened, or they might “turn on the charm.” This peaceful honeymoon phase may give you hope that the abuser has really changed this time.

Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about repeating the abuse. They spend a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how they’ll make you pay for it. Then they form a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.

Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts their plan in motion, creating a situation where they can justify abusing you.

Dating Violence

Dating abuse (also known as dating violence, intimate partner violence, or relationship abuse) is a pattern of abusive behaviors -- usually a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time -- used to exert power and control over a dating partner.

Every relationship is different, but the things that unhealthy and abusive relationships have in common are issues of power and control.

Violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner.

Consequences of Dating Violence

Dating violence can have serious consequences. While the immediate impact might be humiliation and/or physical pain, young people who experience abuse are more likely to be in physical fights or bring weapons to school.

They might exhibit higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse as well as high-risk sexual behaviors.

Signs of Abuse

Warning Signs of People Being Abused

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness

Warning Signs of Physical Violence

  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)

Warning Signs of Isolation

  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car

Psychological Warning Signs

  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal

Speak Up If You Suspect Domestic or Dating Abuse

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating

  • telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong,
  • or that the person might not want to talk about it

keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save their life.

Talk to the person in private and let them know that you’re concerned. Point out the signs you’ve noticed that worry you. Tell the person that you’re there for them, whenever they feel ready to talk.


  • Ask if something is wrong
  • Express concern
  • Listen and validate
  • Offer help
  • Support their decisions


  • Wait for them to come to you
  • Judge or blame
  • Pressure them
  • Give advice
  • Place conditions on your support
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Fighting Against Violence

Women are most often the battered party in a violent relationship, although men are frequently victimized as well, in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

More than 38 million American women have been victims of domestic violence. The internet has opened up new ways for abusers to dominate, intimidate, and control the people in their lives through manipulation, cyber-stalking, and emotional blackmail.

But new research, and the rise of the #MeToo movement, have exposed ways for abuse victims to fight back and free themselves from the fear and control of dangerous, narcissistic abusers.

What Happens When The Abusive Relationship Ends?

Domestic violence does not always end when the victim escapes the abuser, tries to terminate the relationship, and/or seeks help.

Often, it intensifies because the abuser feels a loss of control over the victim. Abusers frequently continue to stalk, harass, threaten, and try to control the victim after the victim escapes.

In fact, the victim is often in the most danger directly following the escape of the relationship or when they seek help:

  • 1/5 of homicide victims with restraining orders are murdered within two days of obtaining the order
  • 1/3 are murdered within the first month.

Unfair blame is frequently put upon the victim of abuse because of assumptions that victims choose to stay in abusive relationships.

The truth is, bringing an end to abuse is not a matter of the victim choosing to leave

  • It is a matter of the victim being able to safely escape their abuser
  • The abuser choosing to stop the abuse
  • Others (e.g., law enforcement, courts) holding the abuser accountable for the abuse they inflict.

Where to Get Help

Created By
Todd Dearmore