Teen Dating violence is when a person uses intimidation, threats, or physical, emotional or sexual violence in order to have power or control in a relationship.

Teen dating violence occurs across all race, gender and socioeconomic lines.

  • About 1 in 3 high school students have been or will be in an abusive relationship (US Department of Justice, 2002)
  • 40% of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend (US Department of Justice, 2002)

Warning signs of an unhealthy relationship:

  • You are afraid to disagree with your partner.
  • Your partner always blames you or others for their problems.
  • Your partner tries to cut you off from friends and family.
  • Your partner is very jealous.
  • Your partner makes unwanted phone calls or visits.
  • Your partner calls you names or yells at you.
  • Your partner tries to control the way you dress and/or who you see.
  • You have been afraid to say no to sex.
  • You partner has threatened to commit suicide if you leave.
  • Your partner throws and/or breaks household objects in anger.
  • Your partner says negative things about friends and family.
  • Your partner has hit, shoved, grabbed, slapped, pushed or kicked you.

Teen dating violence is influenced by how teenagers look at themselves and others.

Young men may believe:

  • They have the right to “control” their female partners in any way necessary.
  • “Masculinity” is physical aggressiveness.
  • They “possess” their partner.
  • They should demand intimacy.
  • They may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive toward their girlfriends.

Young women may believe:

  • They are responsible for solving problems in their relationships.
  • Their boyfriend’s jealousy, possessiveness and even physical abuse is “romantic.”
  • Abuse is “normal” because their friends are also being abused.
  • There is no one to ask for help.

Teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with respect.

“Love Doesn’t Have to Hurt!”