Teen Dating Violence: It’s Time to Talk About It.
Statistics show that one in three teens and young adults will experience some
form of domestic or dating abuse, and that three in four parents have never
spoken about the issue with their child. In February, for National Teen Dating Violence Awareness month,
Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin launched a social media campaign to tell teens: It’s Time to Talk About Dating Violence.
What is Teen Dating Violence?
Teen dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.
What Does Dating Violence Look Like?
Teens and young adults experience the same types of abuse in relationships that adults do. This can include:
- Physical abuse: any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon.
- Verbal or emotional abuse: non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.
- Sexual abuse: any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion or restricting access to birth control.
- Digital abuse: use of technologies and/or social media networking to intimidate, harass or threaten a current or ex-dating partner. This could include demanding passwords, checking cell phones, cyber bullying, sexting, excessive or threatening texts or stalking on Facebook or other social media.
Dating Abuse is often misunderstood.
Try to correct these misunderstandings about abuse and promote real solutions to dating violence:
- The abuse is never the victim’s fault.
- Telling someone to “just leave” is not the answer.
- Take relationships among youth seriously.
- Dating violence happens in every type of relationship, in every community.
- Dating violence isn’t just physical.
- Do not advise teens to fight back.
- There’s never a point where you should “cut off” a friend who is being abused.
It’s Time to Talk is a theme of the Love is Respect campaign, a collaboration between Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline that promotes teen dating violence awareness.
Talking about abuse is the first step in preventing it, which is why Attorney
General Kilmartin brought the issue into the spotlight for National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
According to statistics reported by the Love Is Respect campaign, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.
While abuse affects people of all ages, genders and demographics, studies show that young women are disproportionately affected by dating violence and sexual abuse. In fact, girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence – almost triple the national average.
The affects of dating violence can be long-lasting: teens who suffer abuse are more likely to continue to be abused in their adult relationships and are at a higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and suicide – half of youth who have who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.
The best step a community can take is to address abuse amongst youth and teach teens the right thing to do. Patterns of dating violence often start early and carry through into adult relationships, and the severity of violence among dating partners has been shown to increase if the pattern has been established in adolescence.
Victims of Crime Helpline
Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Start Strong Rhode Island
Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund
Katie Brown Educational Project
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline offers one-on-one service from peer advocates. The helpline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offers translation services. Assistance via online chat services is available four p.m. to midnight CST, 7 days a week.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline, operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, offers services in more than 170 languages. The hotline provides crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Is My Relationship Healthy?
Relationships can range from healthy to unhealthy to abusive – and everything in between. Click here to learn the basics of dating, healthy relationships and where to draw the line before abuse starts.
Tips for Parents
It’s never too early to talk to your kids about healthy relationships. Click here for tips on how to start the conversation, as well as warning signs to look out for.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Hotline
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network offers assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers are automatically directed to on - duty volunteers to answer questions and provide support and local resources.
Break the Cycle
National Center for Victims of Crime - Dating Violence Resource Center
That’s Not Cool
Online SupportLine at https://1in6.org/men/get-help
National listing of LGBT programs: