Teen Dating Violence: Be Aware and Know the Signs
When you think of partner-violence, many don't often think of teen dating violence. But the truth of the matter is that studies show that approximately 10% of adolescents report being victim of physical violence carried out by an intimate partner.
February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month - a month dedicated to raising awareness and breaking the cycle of violence by providing support and services to victims. It's an effort that requires year-around commitment.
Dating violence does not discriminate - it can impact those of all genders, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. Also, it can carry on a magnitude of forms, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, bullying, shaming, and stalking - in person, through text or social media. In most instances, abusers use physical, sexual and psychological tactics against their partners to keep that power and control. According youth.gov, girls are particularly vulnerable to experiencing violence in their romantic relationships and more than likely to suffer long-term emotional trauma and health consequences. LGBT youth are at higher risk of dating violence than their heterosexual classmates.
Some of these harmful health consequences include:
Violent dating patterns
Signs that a teenager is in a toxic relationship include attachment patterns, constantly checking in, jealousy, insecurity, isolating friends and family and unexplained injuries.
If someone tells you that they're in an abusive relationship, believe them and listen to what they have to say. Remind them that it's not their fault and be committed to their safety, especially if you're the parent. Teens should also document the abuse and keep a record of it.
If you suspect your child, friend, family member or classmate is in an abuse relationship, seek professional help immediately. Contact your local law enforcement to report the suspected abuse.
Resources: Love is Respect Thriving Relationship Lab Teen Dating Violence CDC Violence Prevention
Teen Lifeline: (602) 248-TEEN (8336). National Teen Dating Violence Hotline: (866) 331-9474