Teen dating violence is a problem of epidemic proportions that has plagued our nation for decades. Thousands and even millions of teens around the country, both boys and girls, are abused in one way or another every year. While the numbers surrounding this unfortunate phenomenon are troubling, there is reason for hope.
Research has shown that while teen dating violence is common, it doesn’t have to be. There is much that parents, teachers, coaches, and other authority figures can do in the life of a teen to help them get out and stay out of abusive relationships.
If you are new to the topic of teen dating violence, here are ten facts you need to know.
There Are Four Types of Teen Dating Violence
If you are the parent of a teenager, you can be on the lookout for the four different violent behaviors that make up teen dating violence. The four behaviors include:
- Psychological violence: name-calling or playing manipulative mental games
- Physical violence: hitting or kicking
- Stalking: following or giving unwanted attention
- Sexual violence: forcing or pressuring a dating partner to perform sexual acts against their will.
If you see any signs of the above behaviors, talk to your teen as soon as you can.
Teen Dating Violence Can Happen Online
When one dating partner posts pictures the other partner doesn’t want online or sends them lewd messages, it is a type of teen dating violence.
Physical Teen Dating Violence is Surprisingly Common
Nearly 10 percent of girls and over 5 percent of boys are the victims of physical teen dating violence every year.
Sexual Teen Dating Violence Against Girls Is Even More Common
More than 10 percent of girls are the victims of sexual dating violence in any given year. The percentage is far less for boys.
Early Intervention and Education Are Important
When teenage boys and girls are in an abusive relationship as youngsters, they are more likely to be in abusive relationships when they are older. Unfortunately, a pattern can emerge from even one abusive relationship.
The good news is that early intervention and education—teaching kids how to socially interact with others—can go a long way to preventing abuse and getting teens out of relationships that are abusive.
Teens from low-income families are more likely to both abuse and be abused by a teen dating partner. By strengthening economic realities for households in your area, you can decrease the rate of teen dating violence.
There Is Online Training Available To Help Prevent Teen Dating Violence
The National Institute of Justice has numerous online trainings that parents, teachers, and teens can view to learn more about how to prevent teen dating violence.
Abuse Often Starts at a Young Age
Over 25 percent of women who have been abused report that the first incident of abuse they endured occurred before they were 18 years of age. For men, the number is 15 percent.
There Are Many Other Online Resources
In addition to online training, there are dozens of resources and even helplines you can call to report teen dating violence or for coaching on how to leave an abusive relationship.
Teen Dating Violence Affects More Than Just Relationships
Abusive teenage relationships can impact just about every area of a teen’s life. Those who are the victims of abusive relationships have reported feelings of depression or anxiety, are more likely to take drugs or drink alcohol, engage in antisocial behavior, and have thoughts of suicide.
If you are in an abusive relationship or you know someone else who is, seek help immediately.