Teen Dating Violence

Teen dating violence, sometimes referred to as intimate partner violence, is any physical, psychological, or emotional abuse that occurs within dating relationships of young people ages 12 to 18. This violence usually takes place face-to-face or electronically, such as via phone calls, text messages, or the Internet. Teen dating violence doesn’t always occur between individuals who are currently in a relationship; it can also happen between those who were once in a relationship.

Dating violence can present itself in the following ways:

Physical violence—any type of abuse that causes bodily harm, including pinching, hitting, shoving, or kicking.

Emotional violence—threatening behavior aimed at a partner in an attempt to diminish his or her self-worth. Examples of emotional or psychological violence include bullying and purposeful embarrassment.

Sexual violence—actively forcing someone to participate in a sexual act when he or she does not consent. Another example of sexual violence is threatening to spread rumors if a partner rejects sex.

Stalking—undesired harassing or threatening behavior committed by one individual toward another. Examples of stalking include repeated, uninvited visits to someone’s home, unwanted surveillance, consistent electronic communication, etc.

The effects of teen dating violence can be detrimental to a person’s physical and emotional well-being and ultimately lead to antisocial behaviors and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. If you or someone you know is suffering from dating abuse, here are some tips:

  • Tell someone—Don’t be afraid to talk to a friend, adult, family member, or someone you trust. There are people and organizations who can help you get out of a violent dating situation before it escalates.
  • Document the abuse—Record what’s taking place. Keep a journal of the violence you’re experiencing, including dates and times of each incident. Seek medical care for any injuries. Print out emails, text messages, or any other form of electronic communication that contains evidence of dating violence.
  • Leave the relationship—Relationships can turn violent quickly. If this happens, get out of the immediate situation. Consult friends or trusted adults for help before the abuse intensifies.

One of the best resources for learning about healthy relationships and teen dating violence is www.loveisrespect.org. This website provides answers to the following questions:

The website also offers several quizzes to test your knowledge of healthy relationships and dating abuse: http://www.loveisrespect.org/#quizhome.

If you are a victim of dating violence and are feeling lost and scared, contact your local Safe Place program or talk to someone who can protect you. Teachers, counselors, and other adults are there to help. Seeing a counselor or other professional does not mean there is something wrong with you. Never blame yourself, and never be afraid to get help when you need it.

You can also call, text, or chat online with advocates at Love Is Respect who can help:

  • Call: 1.866.331.9474
  • Text: Loveis to 22522
  • Chat online: Visit www.loveisrespect.org and click “Chat Online Now”

Additional Teen Dating Violence Resources
Check out these websites for more information on dating abuse:


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