Did you know that 30 percent of women murdered in the US are killed by their boyfriends, husbands, or exes? Or that 20 to 25 percent of college women will experience attempted or complete rape in college? Date rape, intimate violence and relationship abuse are issues that many women face every day. We talked to New Jersey-based counselor Dari Dyrness-Olsen, author of Safe Dating for College Women, about what women can do to protect themselves while dating and in a relationship. Here are her top 10 tips for staying safe.



Dari Dyrness-Olsen, MA, LPC, author of Safe Dating for College Women, is nationally known as “America’s Safe Dating Coach.” She is currently working with New Jersey legislators on passing the “Safe Dating Law” that will require all public middle and high schools to add Safe Dating Curriculum to their annual health curriculum. Dyrness-Olsen is also working with the national organization Love Is Not Abuse and other states to model what she is doing in New Jersey. Here are her 10 tips to stay safe while you’re dating.

1. Don’t buy into “love is blind”

If relationships started off abusive, then no one would ever date. Dating abuse slowly rears its ugly head over time, as the relationship progresses. Before you know it, you have fallen in love with the person who is treating you badly.

2. Know the red flags of dating abuse

Dating abuse is all about power and control over another person. Do you fight a lot? Is he mean to you? Does he put you down? Does he text you obsessively and need to know where you are, who you are with and what you are doing? Does he want you to spend all of your time with him?

3. Set the bar high

You deserve to be in a safe, healthy and loving relationship. The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. When you love yourself, you can love other people, and they can love you back in a healthy way.

4. Be aware of family dynamics

When kids grow up in abusive families, there is very good chance they will follow in their parents’ footsteps. The apple often doesn’t fall far from the tree, unless they have received professional help.

5. Never depend on a guy

The best lesson I ever learned from my parents was to never depend on anyone else to take care of me. With a divorce rate of more than 50 percent, statistics show you may well end up divorced and having to support yourself and your children.

6. Leopards don’t change their spots

Women stay in abusive relationships hoping that he will change, but he never does. People don’t change unless they actively seek professional help.

7. Have a safety plan

Everyone can relate to bad relationship experiences. You deserve better. But before you break up with your abusive boyfriend, you must have a safety plan.

8. Ask yourself “Is the shoe on the other foot?”

You might be reading this article and realize that you are being abusive to your partner. Do you call or text him too much? Are you jealous and controlling? Are you mean to him? Is he your whole life?

9. Know that there is more to life than guys!

It is better to be happy and alone, than with someone and miserable. Don’t have a boyfriend just for the sake of being “in a relationship.” There is so much more to life than guys.

10. Find your voice

You always have the right to say no. Most women are raised to be passive people-pleasers, which has led to decades of violence against women. Every time you respect and honor yourself, you are respecting and honoring every woman of the world!

Get more safe dating and relationship tips at

Posted March 22, 2012 by greggornation in Bullying, Family, School

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Facts & Dreams

"Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." -Victor Hugo

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