Self Help

Sexual Assault/Dating Violence Prevention

Violence in any form is never okay and is not tolerated at USF St. Petersburg. We promote healthy relationships and open communication as a way to prevent dating and sexual violence from occurring on- and off-campus. We also promote bystander interventions because the whole community is responsible for preventing violence from happening. Learn how to report a crime at USF St. Petersburg.

Mandatory: All Incoming Students (Summer B/Fall transfer/First Year) must complete Part I of both AlcoholEdu and SAPU by August 31, 2021!

Part II will open September 10 and is due October 15, 2021 for all students.

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Changing the culture around sexual assault by showing incoming students how to contribute to a positive, productive, and safe campus community. There is no higher priority for colleges and universities than to provide safe and healthy learning environments for everyone on campus. The Sexual Assault Prevention for Undergraduates (SAPU) mandatory online course covers:

  • Importance of values
  • Aspects of (un)healthy relationships
  • Gender socialization
  • Sexual assault
  • Consent
  • Bystander intervention
  • On-going activism


  • More than half (60%) of acquaintance rapes on college campuses occur in casual or steady dating relationships.
  • Ninety percent of college women who are victims of rape or attempted rape know their assailant.
  • The attacker is usually a classmate, friend, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend or other acquaintance (in that order).
  • In one year, more than 13% of college women indicated they had been stalked, 42% by a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.
  • Almost 1 in 4 (22%) of all rape victims are between the usual college ages of 18-24.

Dating abuse takes many forms. It is defined as a pattern of physically, sexually, verbally and/or emotionally abusive behavior or privacy intrusions in a dating relationship. It ranges from punching, slapping, pushing and grabbing to rape and murder; from threats of violence, verbal attacks and other forms of intimidation to extreme jealousy, possessiveness and controlling behavior.

Dating abuse is designed to be isolating and controlling, taking different forms at different times and limited only by the energy, imagination and desperation of the abuser. Dating and domestic abuse are typically not one-time incidents, but a pattern of abusive behaviors over time that cause fear and/or harm. As the pattern continues, the abuser uses emotional manipulation and/or physical domination to gain control and power over his or her partner.

While the vast majority of abusers are male and most targets (also known as victims or survivors) are female, females can also be abusers and males can be targets of dating abuse. Abuse in relationships can be a difficult topic for anyone to talk about, especially young men. Because dating abuse has traditionally been considered a “woman’s issue,” many young men feel as if they have no positive, proactive way to help stop it – let alone ask for the help they might need as either the target or the abuser.

Dating abuse does not discriminate. It affects people of all races, religions, ages, cultures and sexual orientation. Dating abuse occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-gendered students are just as much at risk for abuse in their relationships as anyone else. It affects people regardless of how much money they have or what neighborhood they live in.

Adapted from the Love Is Not Abuse Curriculum


When dating abuse impacts young adults and college students, it impacts all parts of their lives. It affects them in school, at home, in their dorm or apartment, among their peers, at work, and in their social lives. With digital technology playing such an important role in the lives of students, it shouldn’t be a surprise that dating abuse has gone digital. Digital dating abuse is when someone uses digital technology as a weapon to hurt someone else in a dating situation.

Using technology to spy on, harass or embarrass a partner in social communities can be a powerful abuse tactic in any relationship. Abusers can start online and move offline or vice versa. They can be anonymous, use stolen identities, or pretend to be the target. Tactics include spying, hacking and invasions of privacy, sexting-related harassment, extortion, posing, and set-ups. Any digital device can be used to hurt someone if the abuser is creative enough.

An addition to Digital dating abuse is sexting. Sexting, is sending nude, seminude or provocative pictures or video of yourself or others via cell phone. An abuser may use sexting pictures as blackmail, threatening to share them with the whole school or post them online unless the victim does exactly what the abuser wants him/her to do. The abuser may also threaten the victim to coerce him/her into posing for sexy photos.

Adapted from the Love Is Not Abuse Curriculum

Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

If you are in an intimate relationship with someone, is it the healthy situation that you deserve? Answer yes or no to any of the responses below that apply to this relationship.

Note: It is important to remember that sometimes there are no signs that an intimate partner may become abusive.

Does my partner…

  • Get extremely jealous or possessive?
  • Accuse me of flirting or cheating?
  • Constantly check up on me via calls or texts or make me check in?
  • Tell me how to dress or how much makeup to wear?
  • Try to control what I do and whom I see?
  • Try to keep me from seeing or talking to my family and friends?
  • Have big mood swings—getting angry and yelling at me one minute, and being sweet and apologetic the next?
  • Make me feel nervous, or like I’m walking on eggshells?
  • Put me down or criticize me or post things online to embarrass or humiliate me?
  • Force me to send nude or otherwise “inappropriate” photos of myself?
  • Make me feel that I can’t do anything right?
  • Make me feel that no one else would want me?
  • Threaten to hurt me?
  • Threaten to hurt my friends or family?
  • Threaten to commit suicide?
  • Threaten to hurt him – or herself – because of me?
  • Threaten to hurt my pet(s)?
  • Threaten to destroy my things?
  • Hurt me physically? (includes yelling, grabbing, pushing, shoving, shaking,
    punching, slapping, holding me down, etc.)
  • Break or throw things when we argue?
  • Pressure or force me into having sex or going further sexually than I want to?

If you answered yes any of these responses, you may be in an abusive relationship. For more information, please contact a campus counselor or victim advocate at the USF St. Petersburg Wellness Center.

Adapted from the Love Is Not Abuse Curriculum.