Teen Dating Violence Facts

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Being a teen means dealing with adult issues such as learning to drive, getting a job. Unfortunately for some, it also means learning how to deal with dating violence.

Teen dating violence can happen to both girls and boys, no matter your social or economic status, your race, or whether or you're straight or gay. Learn the facts about teen dating violence. 

Who is affected by dating violence?

  • Approximately 1 in 5 high school female students say they were physically and/or sexually abused by their dating partner.
  • LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) teen couples are just as likely as heterosexual couples to be involved in dating violence.
  • 57% of teens say they know of a peer who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive to their dating partner.
  • 33% of teens have actually seen the abuse or violence themselves.

What can happen when you are in an abusive relationship?

  • Studies show that over 20% of girls between 16 – 19 years old who were killed were killed by their dating partners.
  • 58% of rape victims say they were first raped between the ages of 12 and 24.
  • In a 2005 Liz Claiborne study, 45% of teen girls said they knew of someone who had been pressured into having sex when they were not ready.

Is your boy/girlfriend likely to abuse you?

The Centers for Disease Control offers a few factors that can give you clues:

  • Showing symptoms of trauma
  • Using alcohol
  • Having friends involved in dating violence
  • Having problem behaviors in other areas
  • Believing dating violence is okay
  • Being exposed to harsh parenting or inconsistent discipline
  • Not having parental supervision, monitoring, or warm relationships with parents

How much can being in an abusive relationship affect you?

Besides experiencing physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse, you or your friend may also suffer the following:

  • Becoming more depressed and doing worse in your classes
  • Starting to use drugs and alcohol
  • Experiencing eating disorders
  • Considering or attempting suicide

The effects of an abusive relationship also put you at more risk of becoming trapped in another unhealthy relationship during your college and adult years.

Are your parents or teachers aware of dating violence?

  • In a 2004 survey, 81% of parents said they either did not realize that teen dating violence was an issue, or did not believe it was.
  • A survey asked female teens who they would talk to if they were in an abusive relationship. 86% said they would confide in a friend  - rather than talking to a caring adult (teacher, counselor, or even a parent).

How can you or someone you know find help?

Just 33% of teenagers experiencing dating violence ever tell anyone about it. Yet you do not have to suffer in silence! Talk to a friend, a guidance counselor, a parent, or someone else you trust about abuse.

If you need to know the warning signs of abusive relationship, you can download Safe Horizon’s 10 Signs You May Be Experiencing Relationship Abuse tip card for help.

Safe Horizon also offers support groups for teens experiencing dating violence. If you live in New York City and want to find out more about these groups, contact our Community Programs.

You can also visit the following sites for more support:

LoveIsNotAbuse.com or LoveIsRespect.org, both sponsored by Liz Claiborne
BreaktheCycle.org - making teens aware and active to prevent domestic violence

Teen Dating Violence: Videos

"Break the Silence: Stop the Violence" from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

Resources

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Understanding Teen Dating Violence"

LoveIsNotAbuse.com

Safe Horizon's mission is to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.
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