Teen Sexting Fact Sheet
A fact sheet for teens, parents and educators
Teen Power & Control Wheel
Teen Dating Awareness Websites
National Domestic Violence Hotline Information on Dating and Violence
Break the Cycle
Love is Respect.org
Safe & Respectful
Few of us are used to asking teenagers about their dating practices. Yet there is growing evidence that teens are abused by their boyfriends and girlfriends at rates comparable to those of long term adult relationships. Statistics show that one in three teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship.
In dating violence, one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through abuse. Dating violence crosses all racial, economic and social lines and can be physical, sexual, economic or psychological. Early intervention is thought to be essential to helping young people develop healthy, respectful relationships with their partners.
What are the consequences of Teen 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 both short term and long term negative effects or consequences. 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.
Special issues for Teen Victims
- Teens are likely to see possessiveness and jealousy as signs of affection.
- Victims may be confused by conflicting feelings of love, anger and fear.
- Teens are reluctant to turn to adults for help.
Dynamics of Teen Dating Violence
Teens are often even more reluctant than adult victims to get help for domestic violence. There is an increased fear among teen victims that they are partly to blame and that adults will judge them. In addition to the standard domestic violence warning signs, teen warning signs may include the following:
Additional warning signs that a teen may be being abused
- Their boyfriend/girlfriend calls them names or puts them down in front of others.
- Their boyfriend/girlfriend acts extremely jealous when they talk to friends of the opposite sex, even when it is completely innocent.
- The teen often cancels plans at the last minute, for reasons that sound untrue.
- The teen frequently apologizes for their boyfriend/girlfriend.
- The teen’s boyfriend/girlfriend is constantly checking up on them, calling or texting, and demanding to know where they have been.
- The teen is worried about upsetting their boyfriend/girlfriend.
- The teen has recently given up things that used to be important to them, such as spending time with friends or other activities, and is becoming more and more isolated.
- The teen’s weight, appearance or grades have changed dramatically.
- The teen has injuries they can’t explain, or the explanations they give don’t add up.
The best way to gather information about the above warning signs is to ask questions. Explain to the teen that you are asking questions. Remain non-judgmental and supportive. Advise the teen that it is not their fault and they do not deserve to be treated that way.