In the United States, teens and young women experience the highest rates of relationship violence. In fact, 1 in 10 female high-schoolers say they have been physically abused by a dating partner in the past year.
Omnigraphics wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent teen dating violence and abuse for yourself, your children, or your friends and loved ones.
Some signs of teen dating abuse include:
- Constantly texting or sending instant messages (IMs) to monitor you
- Insisting on getting serious very quickly
- Acting very jealous or bossy
- Pressuring you to do sexual things
- Posting sexual photos of you online without permission
- Threatening to hurt you or themselves if you break up
- Blaming you for the abuse
If you aren’t sure whether the relationship you, your friend, or your child is in is abusive or not you can take this quiz which may help you find out.
Leaving an Abusive Dating Relationship
If you think you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, learn more about how to get help. See a doctor or nurse to take care of any physical problems and reach out for support for your emotional pain. Friends, family, and mental health professionals all can help. If you’re in immediate danger, dial 911.
Here are some tips to keep in mind about ending an abusive dating relationship:
- Create a safety plan, like where you can go if you are in danger.
- Make sure you have a working cellphone handy in case you need to call for help.
- Create a secret code with people you trust. That way, if you are with your partner, you can get help without having to say you need help.
- If you’re breaking up with someone you see at your high school or college, you can get help from a guidance counselor, advisor, teacher, school nurse, dean’s office, or principal. You also might be able to change your class schedules or even transfer to another school.
- If you have a job, talk to someone you trust at work. Your human resources department or employee assistance program (EAP) may be able to help.
- Try to avoid walking or riding alone.
- Be smart about technology. Don’t share your passwords. Don’t post your schedule on Facebook, and keep your settings private.
Myths and Facts about Teen Dating Violence
Myth: It is only maltreatment if it is violent
Fact: Neglect, emotional abuse, sexual coercion, and statutory rape often occur without physical violence or leaving marks.
Myth: Child maltreatment only happens in lower-income or rural families.
Fact: Child maltreatment happens across all socioeconomic groups, and it happens in urban and rural environments.
Myth: Dating violence is always males hurting their girlfriends.
Fact: Females can be perpetrators to their male partners, and dating violence occurs in same-sex relationships.
Myth: Youth usually tell someone that they are being abused or thinking about suicide.
Fact: Most youth do not tell. Shame or fear that others will blame the victim or will not believe reports of abuse prevent many from speaking out. Most youth do not tell an adult about suicidal thoughts or plans; some youth will tell their peers.
Parents can play a big role in teaching kids about healthy relationships.
- Be a role model – treat your kids and others with respect.
- Start talking to your kids about healthy relationships early – before they start dating. Here are a few tips to help you communicate with your teen.
- Get involved with efforts to prevent dating violence at your teen’s school.
- If you are worried about your teen, call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522.
Everyone has the right to a healthy and safe relationship free of abuse. And, everyone has a hand in ending dating violence. Love has many definitions, but abuse isn’t one of them! If you or someone you know has a question about a relationship, healthy or unhealthy, visit loveisrespect.org or text “loveis” to 22522. Loveisrespect is there for you 24/7/365! Remember, hands unite when it comes to ending dating violence.