Teen Dating Violence

The best years of your life shouldn’t hurt.


Every person has the right to live in a peaceful  environment free from abuse.


Teen Dating Violence is:

A pattern of behavior used by an individual to maintain control over their dating partner.

•   This control may take the form of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse.

•   Dating violence is not about getting angry or having a disagreement – in an abusive dating  relationship one partner is afraid of and intimidated by the other.

What is the legal definition of domestic violence or dating violence?

•    Physical harm, bodily injury or assault, infliction of fear of imminent physical harm or sexual assault.

How often does it happen?

•   89% of teens between ages 13 and 18 say they have been in dating relationships.

•   70% of high school girls and 52% of high school boys who are abused report an injury from an abusive relationship

•   1 in 3 female teens in a dating relationship fear for their safety.

•   Teens who are victims of dating violence are not only at risk for injury, but are also more likely to report binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting, and current sexual activity.

•  40% of teenagers age 14 to 17 reported knowing someone their age that has been hit or beaten by their boyfriend.

Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser.

Who is involved?                                                  

•  Dating violence occurs between two people who are currently or formerly involved in a dating relationship.

•  The abuse can begin at a very young age, as young as 11 or 12 years old.

•  Friends of the couple are usually aware of the abuse and may be drawn into the situation.

Where can it happen?

•  Dating violence can occur at school – in the hall, in the

classroom, in the parking lot, on the bus, at after-school

activities, at a student’s workplace, at a school dance, or at a

student’s home.

•   In teenage dating relationships, the abuse is often public with

peers witnessing the abuse; however, the abuse can also be

done  in private, by cell phone or private setting.

What does it look like?

•  Jealousy  and possessiveness.

•   Name-calling, put downs, humiliation, threats, stalking, rumors,

or intimidation.

•  Pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting, throwing objects, or using


•   Unwanted sexual touch,  forced sex, refusal to use birth





•     1 in 3  teens in a dating relationship report

being abused. 1-2 teens report compromising their

beliefs to please their partners.(Surveyconducted for

Liz Claiborne)


•    Girls stay in abusive relationships for many reasons.

For adolescent girls there is a rigidity in conforming to

female gender role expectations, specifically the

expectation that her status depends on her

attatchment to a male.


•    Abusive relationships occur

among all classes, races, and cultural groups. An

abusive relationship can happen to anyone.


10 Facts You Should Know


1.   Since much of violence is learned, it can

be unlearned.


2.  Violence is preventable; it is not



3.  The seeds for adult interpersonal violence

are planted while young.


4.  Sexism, racism and other socially

sanctioned forms of violence affect

interpersonal relationships.


5.   Teenage relationships must be taken



6.   Male teenagers must be educated about

their aggressive impulses, but not by

being  seen as the “enemy”.


7.   Empowerment lies in moving through

victimization, not being stuck in it.


8.   Young people are capable of taking

responsibility for creating violence-free

relationships and environments.


9.   Media influences attitudes and behavior

and contributes to the desensitization to



10. A  violence-prevention training program/

curriculum cannot end violence on its

own. Communities and families have to

work together, with support from other

Institutions, to provide a positive future

for our young people.


Safety Planning for Teens in Abusive Dating Relationships

The following are tips you might think about to    increase your safety  if you are in an abusive relationship.

General Safety

•  Stay in touch with your friends;  and, make  it a point to spend time with  people other than your partner.

•  Stay involved in activities that you enjoy. Don’t stop doing things that you enjoy or  that make you feel good about yourself.

• Make new friends. Increase your support network.

• Take self-defense class.

• Consider looking into resources at your school or in the community.  Think about joining a support group or calling a crisis line.


                  Being a Friend

               to a Victim of Abuse

•    If you notice a friend is in an abusive

relationship, don’t ignore signs of abuse.

Talk to your friend.

•    Express your concerns. Tell your friend

You’reworried. Support, don’t judge.

•    Point out your friend’s strengths– many

people  in abusive relationships are no

longer capable of seeing their own abilities

and gifts.

•    Encourage them to confide in a trusted

adult. Talk to a trusted adult if you believe

the situation is getting worse. Offer to go

with them for help.

•    Never  put yourself in a dangerous

situation with the victim’s partner. Don’t

be a mediator.

•    Call the police if you witness an assault.

Tell an adult – a school principal, parent,

guidance counselor.


 What You Can Do

•    Start a peer education program on teen

dating violence.

•    Create bulletin boards in the school

cafeteria or classroom to raise awareness.

•    Perform a play about teen dating violence.