Violence Prevention and Risk Reduction

Physical and sexual violence does not discriminate, and it can affect students, faculty, and staff right here within the Drexel University community. While violence can present itself in the form of an attack by a stranger, most acts of violence are committed by people we know and all too often by those who are closest to us. It is important to learn the warning signs of relationship abuse so that you can recognize situations and relationships that may have become physically or psychologically dangerous to yourself and others. On this page you will find a number of warning signs of relationship abuse that you should be aware of. While it is vital to be cognizant of these signs, it is most important to realize that violence is not your fault, and that love is respect.

  • Constant belittling or put-downs
  • Telling a partner what to do
  • Making false accusations
  • Repeatedly pressuring a partner to have sex
  • Explosive temper
  • Erratic mood swings
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Possessive with a partner’s time and attention
  • Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way
  • Destroying property
  • Threatening to hurt or kill pets
  • Pressuring a partner to do sexual things they are not comfortable with
  • Checking cell phones, emails or social networks without permission
  • Keeping or discouraging partner from seeing family and friends
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Intimidating a partner with weapons
  • Pressuring a partner to use drugs or alcohol

If you are unsure if you are in an abusive relationship, and would like to talk to someone about your experience, you can call the Drexel University Counseling Center at 215.895.1415 or after hours at 215.416.3337. You can also call the confidential Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.866.723.3014. In addition, you can contact EIC for more information.

To see more warning signs of relationship abuse in action, check out the One Love Foundation's "Couplets" videos highlighting unhealthy relationship behaviors.       

The One Love Foundation teaches to be on the lookout for these 8 warning signs:

Intensity  Obsession  Isolation  Disrespect 
Guilt  Control  Anger  Putdowns 

If you see three or more of these warning signs in your relationship or a friend’s, don’t be afraid to speak up and say #thatsnotlove .


Survivors are never at fault for the abuse they endure. However, there are behaviors that aid in risk reduction and increase safety. The best way to prevent violence is to stop it before it starts, if possible. Creating boundaries and clear communication are the best measures for preventing abuse.

  • Feel empowered to say “no” to sexual advances if you feel uncomfortable.
  • There is never a situation when you should feel obligated to have sex.
  • Drugs and alcohol impair judgment, making it difficult to make the best decisions regarding your sexual health.
  • Feel empowered to leave situations that make you feel pressured or uncomfortable.
  • If you have to question your safety at any point, remove yourself from that situation.
  • When meeting someone for the first time, always meet in a public place.
  • Invite friends to come with you to get to know the other person increases safety.
  • Always keep your cell phone charged and on you.
  • Abusive behaviors do not go away without intervention.
  • Abuse can start with something as small as comments that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Do not dismiss feelings of discomfort. Tell the actor to stop and remove yourself from the situation.

Cycle of Violence diagram


The cycle of abuse diagram provides a visual to explain the stages that usually occur during an abusive relationship. The phases represent what happens before, during and after abuse takes place. Partners may go through the cycle of abuse countless times throughout a relationship. The stages are marked by the presence or lack of abuse, breakdown in communication, the abuser’s anger and the victim’s response. 

Although abuse is typically not constant throughout a relationship, the honeymoon phase and tension building phase usually shorten over time, thereby increasing the frequency of abusive episodes. The cycle will not stop unless the victim chooses to end the relationship or there is an intervention. See the resources list at the bottom of the page if you need help ending an abusive relationship.


CYCLE OF ABUSE – The Intersection of Communication, Abuse, and Response

  • Emotional abuse and verbal attacks begin.
  • There is a breakdown in communication.
  • The abuser is becoming more controlling.
  • The victim tries to please abuser without success.
  • Physical and psychological abuse occurs.
  • The tension reaches its climax and the abuser cannot be calmed.
  • The abuser blames the victim.
  • The victim is isolated physically and emotionally.
  • Abusive behaviors stop for a period of time.
  • The abuser seeks out the victim and shows care and concern for their well-being.
  • The abuser asks for forgiveness and shows remorse.
  • The victim accepts apology and believes the violence will stop.


All Drexel University Community members are encouraged to report incidents that may violate the sexual harassment and sexual misconduct policy. Through reporting, there are opportunities to file a complaint, receive free referrals, and/or be provided with accommodations.  Even if members of the Drexel community decide not to pursue a criminal or Drexel internal conduct complaint, resources are still available to provide support and to mitigate the impact of an incident.

For more information about Drexel resources, visit: the Title IX resources page.


Drexel Counseling Center
University City Campus
3210 Chestnut St.
201 Creese Student Center
Philadelphia, PA 19104



Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence
1617 John F Kennedy Blvd #800
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Women Against Abuse
Land Title Building Management
100 S Broad St #1341
Philadelphia, PA 19110
Philadelphia Sexual Assault Response Center
300 E. Hunting Park Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19124
Emergencies: 215.425.1625
Non-emergencies: 215.800.1589


National Domestic Violence Hotline
1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
(Confidential and free hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
National Sexual Assault Hotline
1.800.656.HOPE (4673)
(Confidential and free hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
1.866.331.9474 or text LOVEIS to 22522
(Confidential and free hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)