What is Teen Dating Violence?

Dating violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to manipulate power and control in a relationship. It may involve physical, verbal, emotional and/or sexual abuse. While physical violence can be more immediately damaging, emotional abuse also has long term effects and can be just as devastating.

Violent behaviors might include slapping, hitting, pushing or shoving. Dating violence also includes threats, ridicule, name calling and controlling what you do, where you go and who you see. An abusive partner might call or text you excessively, demand or send inappropriate pictures or monitor your phone calls and read your text messages. Dating violence may also include pressuring someone to have sex or forcing any unwanted sexual contact.

Some warning signs include:

  • Jealousy and control issues
  • Possessiveness
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual demands
  • Violent temper
  • Abusive home life
  • Rapidly changing mood
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use

Keep in mind:

  • As many as one in three teens experiences abuse in a relationship.
  • Dating violence can occur at any time in a relationship and usually gets worse over time.
  • Violence may occur among couples of all ages, races and/or incomes.
  • People who are violent toward their partner usually blame the other person for their actions.
  • Violence in relationships is a crime. Legal steps can be taken to protect the victim.
  • Research shows that 50% of girls living in violent homes will become victims of partner abuse, while 85% of teen boys living with violence will be abusive toward their partners.

You have the right to be free from violence in a relationship! You have the right to say no at any time, make your own decisions and choose your own friends.

Ending an abusive relationship can be hard, but help is available. Call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 (toll free, 24 hours a day) or text “loveis” to 22522 to text with a peer advocate. Visit the Links page for more online resources.