Violence and abuse in teen dating relationships is much more common than most people would like to admit. The startling facts are that 1 in 10 high school students will experience physical violence from a partner and many more will suffer psychological abuse. Summer is vacations have started and teens are out. It is always better to be safe when looking at the dating habits of your son or daughter. They are precious to you. Unfortunately, statistics show that teen dating abuse is on the rise.
Here are Some Startling Facts About Dating Violence
- Of women between 15-19 murdered each year in the U.S., 30% are killed by their husband or boyfriend.
- 26% of all female murder victims in 1995 were killed by their partners.
- 40% of teenage girls age 14-17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
- In 1998 in the U.S. approximately 1,800 murders were attributed to intimates; nearly 75% of these had a female victim.
Dating violence can include physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Many teens have trouble admitting that they are in fact involved in an abusive relationship. Oftentimes the victim is made by the victimizer to feel as if the abuse is their fault, that they did something to provoke it, that they deserved it. This just isn’t true! Nobody deserves to be abused in any way.Physical dating violence can include:
Emotional abuse comes in many forms that at first may seem subtle. However, over time even subtle comments can have a big impact on a person’s self-esteem. Emotional abuse is perhaps one of the most common and unfortunately one of the most under reported or recognized forms of abuse. Victims may feel that because the victimizer has not physically harmed them that it is not in fact an abusive relationship. This is a misconception; emotional abuse is a very real problem for teens and adults alike. Emotional abuse includes the following:
- public humiliation
- threats of physical violence
- isolation from friends and family
- extreme jealousy and possessiveness on the abuser’s part.
Emotional abuse is especially harmful because after a period of time being told they are worthless and stupid, the victim begins to believe it. There is a loss of self-esteem and they may even begin to believe they deserve the abuse. This often makes it more difficult for the victim to leave the relationship because she/he feels that they are not good enough for and do not deserve anyone better.Sexual abuse occurs in a dating relationship when one partner forces the other into sexual acts without consent. Many people believe the myth that it’s not rape if you’re in a relationship with the person. This is just not true. Any non-consensual, forced sexual contact from a partner is assault.
If you believe that your child is being abused, talk to her. Ask questions, set limits, and offer advice. She may find it hard to talk about stress in her dating life. So, don’t show anger or push so hard that the she pulls away. Instead, let her know that you respect her views and are there for her. Tell her that you care about her and want her to be safe. If you believe that your child is abusing his dating partner, confront him about it, and seek expert help.*We refer to a child as “him” in some places and “her” in others.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1800-977-SAFE(7233) or log onto the National Domestic Violence Hotline.