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What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself

Personal Counseling
Sexual Assault
Relationship Violence

Resource Directory

Women’s Center of Beaver County
HOTLINE: 724-775-0131
Call Penn State Beaver University Police from an on-campus phone by dialing ext. 3888.
If calling campus police from a cell or an off-campus phone, dial 911 or call 724-773-3888.

Heritage Valley Health System, Sewickley 
720 Blackburn Road
Sewickley, PA 15143

Heritage Valley Health System, Beaver
1000 Dutch Ridge Rd.
Beaver, PA 15009

Emotional Support

Women’s Center of Beaver County
HOTLINE: 724-775-0131
Call Penn State Beaver University Police from an on-campus phone by dialing ext. 3888.
If calling campus police from a cell or an off-campus phone, dial 911 or call 724-773-3888.

Staunton Clinic
Heritage Valley Health System, Sewickley

720 Blackburn Road
Sewickley, PA 15143 

Staunton Clinic Crisis Services
Heritage Valley Health System, Rochester

Crisis Intervention Services are available 24 hours a day.

724-773-4242 OR 1-800-440-6180

Police and Legal Information

Penn State Beaver University Police
If calling from an on-campus phone, dial ext. 3888.
If calling from a cell or an off-campus phone, dial 724-773-3888 or call 724-773-3888.

Remember! You can ALWAYS dial 911 in any emergency!

Relationship violence occurs all too frequently on college campuses nationwide. It can happen to women or men regardless of age, religion, race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic class. The social, emotional, physical, and sexual consequences of relationship violence are severe and can be fatal. The following information is designed to educate men and women about the issues related to this very serious problem.

Definition of Relationship Violence

Relationship violence is defined as any hurtful or unwanted physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional act inflicted by a casual or intimate dating partner with the intention, either real or perceived, of causing pain or injury to another person.

Note: In most relationship violence situations, the abuser is male and the victim is female. Therefore, throughout the following information, the abuser will be referred to with a male pronoun and the victim will be referred to with a female pronoun, This in no way negates the fact that men can be abused and women can be the abusers, or that both the abused and the abuser can be of the same sex.

Extent of the Problem

  • Approximately 1 out of 10 high school students has experienced physical violence in dating relationships (as cited in Lloyd, 1995).
  • 21% to 53% of college students have experienced at least one incident of dating violence (as cited in Worth, Matthews, & Coleman, 1990).
  • Several research studies found that 50% to 75% of college women experienced some form of sexual aggression in dating relationships (Lloyd, 1995).
  • Compared with men, women experience 10 times as many incidents of violence by an intimate (Zawitz, 1994).
  • Women ages 19 to 29 are more likely than women of other ages to be victimized by an intimate (Bachman & Saltzman, 1995).
  • An estimated 6,000,000 women are assaulted by a male partner each year and of these women, 1.8 million are severely assaulted (Strauss & Gelles, 1990).
  • 22% to 35% of women who visit medical emergency rooms are there for injuries related to ongoing partner abuse (Adams, 1989).
  • Every day in the United States, three to four women are killed by their partners (FBI, 1996).
  • Over time relationship violence always progresses in severity, intensity, and frequency. For instance, physical abuse is almost always preceded and accompanied by verbal abuse. Therefore, it's important to identify abusive behavior immediately.

Abusive Behavior Can Be:


  • Being sworn at, demeaned, and threatened
  • Being told “no one else would want you” or “I don’t know why I waste my time with you”
  • Being continually criticized, called names, and yelled at for reasons ranging from not being where you're supposed to be to talking to someone else
  • Ridicule or insults regarding your values, beliefs, religion, race, heritage, sexual orientation, or socio-economic class.
  • Having your friends and/or family insulted and/or driven away.


  • Being given the silent treatment
  • Having approval, appreciation, and affection withheld as punishment
  • Being manipulated with lies, contradictions, and broken promises
  • Being humiliated in public or private
  • Having your feelings, and maybe even your presence, ignored


  • Having objects thrown at you
  • Being held or otherwise restrained from leaving
  • Being hit, bitten, pushed, slapped, punched, and/or shoved
  • Being abandoned in dangerous places
  • Being subjected to reckless driving
  • Being threatened with a weapon


  • Being forced to engage in sexual activity, sadistic sexual acts, and/or any other unwanted sexual acts
  • Being forced to strip
  • Being called names such as “whore” and “frigid”
  • Being witness to anti-women jokes, demeaning remarks about women, and treatment of women as sex objects
  • Being subjected to jealous anger based on the assumption that you would have sex with anyone

Relationship violence usually involves a combination of these various forms of abusive behaviors. As the violence progresses in severity, the mixture of behaviors can become more complex.

Cycle of Violence

The key characteristic of relationship violence is the cycle of violence:

  • Mutual dependency between the abuser and the abused
  • Unpleasant event (victim-to-be does something viewed as unacceptable to the abuser-to-be)
  • Abuser tries to stop the behavior threats; the victim may argue back
  • "Last straw” decision (abuser decides situation is intolerable)
  • Primitive rage assault (all inhibitions against hurting a loved one disappear)
  • Reinforcement for battering (in order to survive, the victim submits)
  • Repentance (apologies, promises, talk, and “happy times”). This phase disappears from the cycle after several years of violence.
  • As the violence progresses over time, the cycle shortens and progresses more rapidly.

Recognizing a Couple in Trouble

  • The following symptoms are found in many abusive relationships. However, their presence is not necessarily indicative of abuse:
  • Suspicious bruises or other injuries
  • Arguing and insults
  • Over-dependency of the partners on one another
  • Intense jealousy (usually the abuser)
  • Poor impulse control and limited tolerance for frustration by the abuser
  • Poor social skills in one or both partners
  • An intense relationship that separates the partners from their support system. If your partner threatens to break up with you or gets angry when you want to spend time with others, this might be an early warning sign of a bigger problem.

An abusive relationship often begins with attempts to control. Having a partner who wants you to spend all of your time with them or who wants you to go out and talk only with them may seem flattering at first. However, if your partner threatens to break up with you or gets angry because you want to go out with your friends or family, it may be an early warning sign.

Relationship Rights

Everyone looks for different things in a relationship. We all have different desires we'd like to have fulfilled. No two relationships are exactly alike. We're all unique individuals and our relationships are unique as well. In all relationships, each individual has rights. A healthy relationship allows you to have those rights. If you don’t feel that you have these rights in a relationship, it’s important to know you deserve them. Here's a list of some of those rights:

  1. The right to live without fear of abuse
  2. The right to be treated with respect
  3. The right not to be perfect
  4. The right to constructively express your feelings and opinions
  5. The right to fulfill your own needs
  6. The right to reject stereotypes and set your own standards
  7. The right to participate in decision making and to change your mind
  8. The right to privacy and time alone
  9. The right to maintain old friendships and make new ones
  10. The right to say no or disagree
  11. The right to leave

Helping a Friend


  • Listen. Being there to help means supporting her choices.
  • Tell her the perpetrator is responsible for his behavior.
  • Help her to see possible choices and alternatives.
  • Provide information about counseling and other resources available both on and off campus.
  • Make it clear that violence is a violation of rights.
  • Try to compare violence with a stranger to violence with an intimate partner.
  • Point out the definition of assault.
  • Communicate that the abuser is responsible for the violence and not the partner, situation, alcohol, or stress.
  • When referring to the partner, insist his/her name be used.
  • Suggest that he/she start by dealing with the violent behavior; provide counseling and other resource information.
  • Counseling is recommended until the abuser has gained control of his behavior and there is no longer violence in the relationship.


  • Tell the victim to end the relationship.
  • Refuse continued support.
  • Blame the victim for the violence.

What Men Can Do

Stopping abuse might be a “man’s job.” If we let other men know that “real men” don’t need to belittle, intimidate, or hit, it might be the first step in an abuser’s rehabilitation and may even lead to the prevention of abuse.

Legal Options

Criminal Charges

Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order

The PFA is a special form of restraining order for victims of relationship and/or domestic violence. You're eligible if you've been assaulted or threatened with physical force by an intimate partner or family member. You're still eligible if you've been assaulted and/or threatened. The PFA also has a clause for stalking situations. No arrest is made unless the order is violated.

Administrative Directive

University staff, faculty, and administrators can sign an administrative directive to ensure that a student will have no unsolicited contact with another student. Failure to comply with the directive can result in disciplinary action, which could result in separation from the University. For more information, please contact Penn State Beaver's Office of Judicial Affairs at 724-773-3953.


Adams, D. (1989, July/August). Identifying the assaultive husband in court: You be the judge. Boston Bar Journal, 33-34

Bachman, R. & Saaltzman, L. (1995). Violence against women: Estimates from the redesigned survey. Washington, DC Department of Justice.

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (1996). Uniform crime reports. Washington, DC: Department of Justice.

Lloyd, S. (1995). The dark side of courtship: Violence and sexual exploitation. In S. Stith & M. Straus (Eds.), Understanding partner violence; Prevalence, causes, consequences, & solutions (pp. 90-98). Minneapolis, MN: National Council on Family Relations.

Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (Eds.). (1990). Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8,145 families. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

Worth, D., Matthews, P., Coleman, W. (1990). Sex role, group affiliation, family background, and courtship, violence in college students. Journal of College Student Development, 31, 250-254.

Zawitz, M. (1994). Violence Between Intimates. Washington, DC: Department of Justice.

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. The Pennsylvania State University does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Director, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Willard Building, University Park, PA 16802-2801
814-863-0471   T
DD (814) 865-3175.