Facts about Teen Dating Violence
- Unhealthy/Abusive relationships DO NOT get better over time.
- Sexual Activity DOES NOT make abuse go away.
- Getting married DOES NOT make abuse go away.
- You CANNOT FIX the other person.
- Teen Dating Violence is just like domestic violence and can be just as dangerous. See safety planning, red flags, and dynamics of domestic violence pages for more information.
- Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. 30% of deaths in this age group are caused by an intimate partner.
- Violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18.
- The severity of intimate partner violence is often greater in cases where the pattern of abuse was established in adolescence.
- About 72% of 8th and 9th graders are "dating".
- Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.
- 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is either not an issue or don't know if it is an issue.
- A teen's confusion of the law and their desire for no one to know what is happening to them are the two most significant reasons they never seek help concerning abuse.
Signs of a Healthy Relationship
Mutual Respect - Your partner appreciates who you are as a person and does not try to change you or try to get you to stop doing the activities you like to do. Your partner doesn't push you to do things you are not ready to do.
Trust - Although your partner may be jealous at times, you talk about it without anger, threats or accusations. Your partner trust that what you are saying is true.
Honesty - You and your partner are honest with each other. You don't feel it is necessary to tell "little white lies" to keep the peace between you and your partner.
Support - You and your partner support each other during good and bad times. You know that your partner will be there for you for something as minor as a school event to something big like a family members illness.
Fairness/Equality - Your partner does not treat as less of a person or make you feel stupid due to your gender. You make decision together and one of you is not the dominant decision maker. You hang out equally with each other's friends.
Separate Identities - You each have your own life including family, friends, hobbies, activities, etc. Everything does not revolve around knowing where you are 24 hours a day or when you can be or talk to your partner again.
Good Communication - Talk openly and honestly with each other. Give space and time when you need to think things through instead of reacting emotionally or cruelly.
Patience - Let your relationship grow with time and without pressure to do things you are not ready to do. Don't harm each others self-image by shaming them or pushing the relationship to go too fast.
Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
Jealousy and Fear - Your partner accuses you of cheating and is suspicious when you are talking to someone else. Your partner wants to know who you are talking to and may check your phone and text. You either stop talking to people or check to make sure you are not seen doing it.
Possessiveness and Controlling Behavior - Your partner wants to spend every moment with you and doesn't want you to hang out with family or friends. You have to start lying about being with other people you care about.
Verbal Criticisms - Your partner talks down to you as if they are the only one who knows what is best for you and you are not capable of making a good decision about your own life. Makes you feel stupid, guilty or shame.
Social Isolation - Keeps you so close and spends so much time with you that you can no longer have social moments with friends or family. Calls constantly if you are not together, which keeps you from spending quality time with family or friends.
Violent Behavior - Your partner physically harms you, threatens harm to you, or acts like they are going to harm you, such as hitting doors, raising fist, etc. Your partners actions may make you feel like harming yourself or fear for your life.
Drugs and Alcohol - Your partner is abusing drugs or alcohol and becomes mean when intoxicated. The way your partner treats you makes you turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the feeling you are having.
Broken Promises - Your partner tells you that they will never act a certain way again that makes you feel fear or shame, but does it again anyway. You feel like you are the one that constantly have to say "I'm sorry".
Sexual Abuse - Your partner invades your personal space when you don't want them to at the moment and will not relent when you say to stop. Your partner pushes, pressures, threatens or shames you into having sex when you are not ready. Your partner forces sex.
Go to Resources and Links page for more information and sites with information for parents.