What is Teen Dating Violence?
Teen dating violence is a pattern of repeated actual or threatened acts that physically, emotionally, sexually, or verbally abuses a member of an unmarried couple between 13 and 19 years old.
- Extreme jealousy
- Controlling behavior
- Quick involvement
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Alcohol and drug use
- Explosive anger
- Isolates you from friends and family
- Uses force during an argument
- Shows hypersensitivity
- Believes in rigid sex roles
- Blames others for his problems or feelings
- Cruel to animals or children
- Verbally abusive
- Abused former partners
- Threatens violence
If you are experiencing Teen Dating Violence you should:
- Be safe; have an individual safety plan
- Find support; Talk to someone you trust; you don't have to go through this alone
- Document your abuse; date, time, incident, threats, injuries, witnesses, etc.
- You have choices; talk to our Teen Dating Violence Coordinator
If you know someone who is experiencing Teen Dating Violence:
- Be supportive; let her talk about her situation
- It's not her fault; reassure her that she was not responsible for the assault
- Contact us; we can provide support for you and her
Why does Teen Dating Violence happen?
Teen dating violence is influenced by how teenagers look at themselves and others.
Young men may believe:
- They have the right to "control" their partner in any way necessary
- "Masculinity" is physical aggressiveness
- They should and can demand intimacy
- They may love respect in their male peer groups if they are attentive and supportive towards their partner
Young women may believe:
- They are responsible for solving problems in their relationships
- Their partner's jealousy, possessiveness and even physical abuse is "romantic"
- Abuse is "normal" because their friends are also being abused
- They think they can "cure" the abusive partner
- There is no one to ask for help
Teen dating violence often is hidden because teenagers typically:
- Are inexperienced with dating relationships
- Want independence from parents
- Have romanticized views of love
- Are pressured by peers to have dating relationships