With the season of prom and graduations upon us teens are busy with new spring relationships and friendships. Teens and parents need be aware of some of the dangers that stem from "unhealthy relationships". As a teen victim myself of a date rape and a very unhealthy relationship, I want to make it clear to teens that it is not a normal part of your relationship to be pushed around, hit, slapped, teased or verbally abused by another person and if you say "NO" it should mean "NO". Respecting your "boyfriend or girlfriend" and treating them the way you would like to be treated is a normal healthy relationship as with all other relationships in your life. Never think that "it is all my fault" or "I deserved that" or "I was drunk" should mean that violence is OK, it is NOT!!
The information below comes from the CDC's website and includes great info about teen dating violence plus much more.
Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Dating violence often starts with teasing and name calling. These behaviors are often thought to be a “normal” part of a relationship. But these behaviors can lead to more serious violence like physical assault and rape.
What is dating violence?Teen dating violence [PDF 323KB] is defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship. You may have heard several different words used to describe teen dating violence. Here are just a few:
- Relationship Abuse
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Relationship Violence
- Dating Abuse
- Domestic Abuse
- Domestic Violence
What are the consequences of dating violence?As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development. Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships can cause short term and long term negative effects, or consequences to the developing teen. Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships.
Why Does Dating Violence Happen?Treat others with respect. This idea may seem like common sense but the truth is, quite a few teens are involved in violent relationships. And many think it's justified. After all, society seems to be okay with it, just look at all the TV shows and listen to popular songs these days. Violence is never acceptable. But there are reasons why it happens.
Violence is related to certain risk factors. Risks of having unhealthy relationships increase for teens who:
- Believe it's okay to use threats or violence to get their way or to express frustration or anger.
- Use alcohol or drugs.
- Can't manage anger or frustration.
- Hang out with violent peers.
- Have low self-esteem or are depressed.
- Have learning difficulties and other problems at school.
- Don't have parental supervision and support.
- Witness violence at home or in the community.
- Have a history of aggressive behavior or bullying.
The following resources provide more information on teen dating violence.
- Understanding Teen Dating Violence Fact Sheet [PDF 323KB]
- Physical Dating Violence Among High School Students—United States, 2003
Additional CDC Resources:
- CDC TV presents Break the Silence: Stop the Violence
In "Break The Silence: Stop the Violence," parents talk with teens about developing healthy, respectful relationships before they start dating.
- Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention
This 60-minute, interactive training is designed to help educators, youth-serving organizations, and others working with teens understand the risk factors and warning signs associated with teen dating violence.
- Division of Adolescent and School Health
Promotes the health and well-being of children and adolescents to enable them to become healthy and productive adults.
Additional Federal Resources:
- Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Office
- Office on Women’s Health
- One Department: Overview of HHS Activities on Violence Against Women
- Office for Victims of Crime
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
- National Sexual Assault Hotline
- National Sexual Assault Online Hotline