"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 Teen 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 digital 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 girls 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 he/she has been, get angry when he/she pays 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 him/her so that he/she is 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 his or her name is mentioned
Take the test: warning signs of abuse
The excitement of being in a relationship can stop you from seeing the warning signs of abuse. Remember, you don't have to have broken bones or a black eye to be abused. If you check more than two below you may want to get help. You can also take a variety of relationship quizzes regarding your relationship at loveisrespect.org.
Are you going out with someone who...
Is jealous and possessive toward you, checks up on you, and belittles you in front of family and friends?
- Won't accept that you are breaking up with him/her?
- Tries to control you, doesn't like you being with friends, makes all the decisions, and doesn't take your opinion seriously?
- Scares you by his/her reactions to things you say or do?
- Threatens you by using weapons?
- Is violent, has a history of fighting or losing his/her temper, and brags about mistreating others
- Destroys or damages your personal property?
- Forces you to have sex, or is aggressive during sex? Pressures you to have unsafe sex?
- Thinks women or girls are sex objects?
- Attempts to manipulate you or becomes too serious about the relationship too quickly?
- Uses drugs or alcohol and tries to get you to take them too?
- Has a history of bad relationships, or blames you when he or she mistreats you?
- Hits, chokes, punches, kicks, slaps, pulls your hair or physically hurts you?
- Your family and friends have told you they were concerned about your safety?