Teen Dating Abuse

Teen dating violence is similar to and can be as lethal as adult relationship violence. Both include hitting, yelling, threatening, name calling and other forms of verbal, sexual, emotional and physical abuse. The number of incidents and the severity of the abuse increases as the relationship continues.  Dating violence affects about one in ten teens. Very few tell anyone who could help, such as a parent a teacher, a counselor, or the police. About one in ten teen couples is affected by dating violence.

 

Questions to ask in identifying abusive behavior:

Are you unable to disagree with him/her?
Does your partner put you down, but then tell you he/she loves you?
Have you been held down, shoved, pushed, hit, kicked, or had things thrown at you by your partner?’
Does your partner make your choose between him/her or family and friends?
Has your partner forced or intimidated you into having sex?
Are you afraid to break up with you partner because you fear for you personal safety?
Does your partner get jealous when you go out or talk with others?
Does your partner constantly check up on you?
Does your partner frighten or intimidate you?
Are you constantly apologizing for your partner’s behavior?
Do you feel like you have to justify everything to your partner?
Does your partner try to impose restrictions on the way you dress or you appearance?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, then the relationship may be abusive. Part of ending the violence is breaking the silence about the abuse. You CAN find a way out. Talk with someone who can help, such as your parents, a teacher, a counselor, a parent of one of your friends, a coach, your employer or an advocate at Mountain Crisis Services or Valley Crisis Center.

 

Things to do when ending an abusive relationship

Keep a dated record of the abuse.
Do not meet your partner alone, or let them into your house or car while you are along.
Avoid being alone at school, at work, and on your way to and from places.
Vary the routes and times you travel to and from home school or work.
Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
Plan and rehearse what you would do if your partner confronted you or become abusive: HAVE A SAFETY PLAN!

 

How to help a friend who may be in an abusive relationship:

Talk to your friend and be non-judgemental when talking about the abuse.
Listen to your friend and believe him/her.
Let them know that violence under any circumstance is not okay.
Point out your friends strengths. They may not be able to see their abilities because of the abuse.
Encourage you friend to talk with a trusted adult and offer to go with them for help.
Talk to trusted adult if you feel your friends situation is getting worse.
Call the police if you witness an assault.

 

Things NOT to Say or Do

Don’t be critical of your friend and her/his partner.
Don’t ask blaming questions like “what did you do to provoke him?” or “why can’t you handle him?”
Don’t assume you know what is best for you friend.
Don’t give your friend and ultimatum: your friendship or their partner. They need your support regardless of their decision.
Never put yourself in danger by being a mediator.

 

Things You Can Do Do Create Change

Start a peer education group about violence in relationships.
Make posters or hold events during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in February.
Produce plays in your Drama Program that address dating violence or domestic violence.
Make a commitment to support non-violence in your words, actions and relationships.