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Prevent Like a Bearcat: Dating/Domestic Violence: What It Is & Where To Get Support

Practical information about dating/domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. What it is. What to do.

Dating and domestic violence are common and affect many people. If you have experienced this, you are not alone. And healing is possible.


Dating/domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that can happen in our relationships with others. The abusive behaviors are the same, but it is the relationship with the abuser that defines whether the abuse or violence is called dating violence or domestic violence. Sometimes dating/domestic violence is called intimate partner violence (IPV) or relationship abuse.
Dating violence is used to describe abuse in relationships where the partners are unrelated, not married, and do not share a child, and do not live together. Domestic violence is used to describe abuse that occurs in relationships where the people are married, live together, share a child, or are related.
In this LibGuide, we use the combined term dating/domestic violence to refer to abuse or violence that is done by those who know each other in intimate, social, or family relationships.


Does this happen a lot?

Dating/domestic violence happen all too often nationally and locally.
In Kentucky, almost half of women and about a third of men experience dating/domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Local Owensboro organization OASIS is a welcoming, inclusive agency providing free services to all genders experiencing dating/domestic violence. OASIS provides a shelter to live in as well as services to people not living in shelter.

For support regarding shelter/residential services, call 270-652-0260.

For support regarding non-residential services, call 270-685-5271

Click here to find out more information on OASIS's website.

The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV) provides a wide range of information and support. Although KCADV does not provide shelter or crisis intervention services, it offers a wide range of information and speaks with a unified voice about preventing and responding to domestic violence.

Click here to access a map showing where's Kentucky's domestic violence shelters are.

Domestic violence shelters may provide both non-residential services as well as a shelter to live in.

What are examples of dating/domestic violence?

Dating/domestic violence takes many forms. Sometimes abuse is physical, and sometimes it is not.

No matter what form the abuse takes, dating/domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used by one partner or person to maintain power and control over the other partner or person in an intimate relationship, marriage, dating relationship, or family.

Some common examples of abuse that can occur in relationships include

  • verbal abuse, insults, humiliation
  • sexual abuse or sexual assault
  • stalking
  • financial, economic abuse, abuse in court system
  • animal abuse, pet abuse
  • physical abuse
  • monitoring online spaces or electronic devices
  • gaslighting (having one's reality repeatedly questioned by someone else so you feel like you doubt yourself and your sense of reality)
  • stonewalling ("silent treatment"; refusing to answer; being evasive)
  • refusing necessities such as food, water, medication
  • isolation from friends and family
  • hitting, slapping, kicking, pushing, strangulation ("choking")


Hope is real.

Heal like a Bearcat. You're worth it. 

You are resilient.

Love is more than just the way you feel. Love is respect is the national resource to disrupt and prevent unhealthy relationships and intimate partner violence by empowering young people through inclusive and equitable education, support, and resources. Love is a safe and inclusive space for young people to access help and information in a setting specifically for them. Click here to go to love is respect's website where you can find information, take quizzes, and access safety planning ideas.

Safety Plan

A safety plan is beneficial for many people. Consider creating your own safety plan to increase your physical and emotional safety. 

Click here to learn more about making a plan for yourself. You can also learn more by clicking on the tab above - Safety Planning: Being Safer and Feeling Safer.