"The act of love is to say: I want you to be who you are."
The act of abuse is to say: "I want you to be who I want you to be."
It is that simple. — James D. Gill
What is Dating Violence?
Teen dating violence is the act or threat of violence by one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within a dating relationship. This can include any form of sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, financial, and/or resource abuse.
Teen Dating Statistics
- About one in three high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship.
- Nearly one in five teenage girls who have been in a relationship report a boyfriend had threatened violence toward her or threatened to injure himself over a breakup.
- 40% of teenage girl’s ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
- In one study, from 30 to 50 percent of female high school students reported having already experienced teen dating violence.
- Teen dating violence most often takes place in the home of one of the partners.
- One in five (or 20 percent) of dating couples report some type of violence in their relationship.
- One of five college females will experience some form of dating violence.
- A survey of 500 young women, ages 15 to 24, found that 60 percent were currently involved in an ongoing abusive relationship and all participants had experienced violence in a dating relationship.
- More than half of young women raped (68%) knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend or casual acquaintance.
- More than 70% of pregnant teens or female teen parents are beaten by their boyfriends.
- 16% of Ohio high school females report having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.
Warning signs of an abusive relationship
- Jealousy - The abuser will say that jealousy is a sign of love.
- Possessiveness and controlling behavior - The abuser will repeatedly call and ask where they have been, get angry when they pay attention to someone.
- Verbal criticisms and abuse - Ridicule, criticisms, and insults are continual and makes the victim feel degraded and worthless.
- Continual checking up on the victim - The abuser may spy or continually check up on the victim and ask for an account of whereabouts.
- Social isolation - The victim is isolated from all personal and social resources. This gives the abuser a sense of control.
- Violent behaviors when using drugs and alcohol - Many abusers will use drugs and alcohol and become violent. Frequently, they will pressure their dates to use substances as well.
- Blame - the abuser will often blame the victim by saying things like: "You asked for it" or "You made me mad."
- Threats of suicide - Abusers will threaten to hurt or kill themselves if their partner threatens to break up.
- Uses guilt trips - the abuser will frequently say - "If you really loved me, you would..."
- Broken promises - They ask for a chance to make up for their behavior, stating that they will change.
- Forced sex - Abusers will frequently force their partners to have sex or intimidate them so that they are afraid to say no.
What to look for...
- Bruises, scratches, or other injuries
- Failing grades
- Dropping out of school activities
- Avoiding friends and social events
- Changes in clothes or make-up
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Avoiding eye contact
- Crying spells or hysteria fits
- Constant thoughts about the dating partner
- Alcohol or drug use
- Anxiety or depression
- Sudden changes in mood or personality
- Fearfulness around the dating partner when their name is mentioned
Dating Bill of Rights
I have the right to:
- Ask for a date/refuse a date
- Suggest activities
- Refuse any activities, even if my date is excited about them
- Have my own feelings and be able to express them
- Say "I think my friend is wrong and his actions are inappropriate"
- Tell someone not to interrupt me
- Have my limits and values respected
- Tell my partner when I need affection
- Refuse affection
- Be heard
- Refuse to lend money
- Refuse sex any time, for any reason
- Have friends and space aside from my partner
I have the responsibility to:
- Determine my limits and values
- Respect the limits of others
- Communicate clearly and honestly
- Not violate the limits of others
- Ask for help when I need it
- Be considerate
- Check my actions and decisions to determine whether they are good or bad for me
- Set high goals for myself
*From the Domestic Violence Advocacy Program of Family Resources Inc.
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