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"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
  • Indecision
  • Changes in clothes or make-up
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Secrecy
  • 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.


You can help stop domestic violence and child abuse.

DVCAC reaches over 37,000 men, women and children each year in the Cleveland area

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