Teenagers often experience violence
in dating 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. Most victims
are young women, who are also at greater risk for serious injury. Young
women need a dating safety plan.
dating violence often is hidden because teenagers typically:
- are inexperienced with dating
- are pressured by peers to act violently.
- want independence from parents.
- have "romantic" views of love.
dating violence is influenced by how teenagers look at themselves and
Young men may believe:
Young women 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.
- 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.
warning signs that your date may eventually become abusive:
- Controlling behavior
- Quick involvement
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Alcohol and drug use
- Explosive anger
- Isolates you from friends and
- Uses force during an argument
- Believes in rigid sex roles
- Blames others for his problems or
- Cruel to animals or children
- Verbally abusive
- Abused former partners
- Threatens violence
clues that indicate a teenager may be experiencing dating violence:
Physical signs of injury
- Truancy, dropping out of school
- Failing grades
- Changes in mood or personality
- Emotional outburst
the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence newsletter, Winter 1999
is available for teenagers
If you are a teenager involved in an abusive
relationship, you need to remember that no one deserves to be abused or
threatened. Remember you cannot change your batterer, and in time the
violence will get worse. You need to take care of yourself. Talk to a
trusted adult or locate a shelter or agency serving victims of domestic
abuse in your community. Together, you can talk about making a plan to
end the relationship and remain safe.
Call the Alabama Domestic Violence 24-hour hotline, 1-800-650-6522.
Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Information adapted in
part from the Rose Haven Center for Domestic Violence in Gadsden (AL).
is a new 24 hour resource that utilizes telephone and web-based
interactive technology to reach teens and young adults experiencing
dating abuse. The Helpline numbers are: (866) 331-9474 and TTY (866)
331-8453. The peer to peer online individual chat function is available
from 4 p.m. to midnight and can be accessed from the website.
In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence
is a revolutionary, scenario-based training tool for adults who work
with teens. Participants learn what dating is like for today's teens by
becoming a teen character, making choices about their relationship and
seeing the results.
From the Domestic
Violence Advocacy Program of Family Resources, Inc.
- Consider double-dating the first few
times you go out with a new person.
- Before leaving on a date, know the exact
plans for the evening and make sure a parent or friend knows these
plans and what time to expect you home. Let your date know that you are
expected to call or tell that person when you get in.
- Be aware of your decreased ability to
react under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- If you leave a party with someone you do
not know well, make sure you tell another person you are leaving and
with whom. Ask a friend to call and make sure you arrived home safely.
- Assert yourself when necessary. Be firm
and straightforward in your relationships.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation
makes you uncomfortable, try to be calm and think of a way to remove
yourself from the situation.
Planning for Teens
You should think ahead about ways to be safe
if you are in a dangerous or potentially dangerous relationship. Here
are some things to consider in designing your own safety plan.
- What adults can you tell about the
violence and abuse?
- What people at school can you tell in
order to be safe--teachers, principal, counselors, security?
- Consider changing your school locker or
- Consider changing your route to/from
- Use a buddy system for going to school,
classes and after school activities.
- What friends can you tell to help you
- If stranded, who could you call for a
- Keep a journal describing the abuse.
- Get rid of or change the number to any
beepers, pagers or cell phones the abuser gave you.
- Keep spare change, calling cards, number
of the local shelter, number of someone who could help you and
restraining orders with you at all times.
- Where could you go quickly to get away
from an abusive person?
- What other things can you do?
Women ages 16 to 24
experience the highest per capita rates of intimate violence--nearly 20
per 1000 women.
Justice Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence, May 2000)
- About one in three high school students
have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship.
- Forty percent of teenage girls ages 14
to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a
- In one study, from 30 to 50 percent of
female high school students reported having already experienced teen
- Teen dating violence most often takes
place in the home of one of the partners.
- In 1995, 7 percent of all murder victims
were young women who were killed by their boyfriends.
- One in five or 20 percent of dating
couples report some type of violence in their relationship.
- One of five college females will
experience some form of dating violence.
- A survey of 500 young women, ages 15 to
24, found that 60 percent were currently involved in an ongoing abusive
relationship and all participants had experienced violence in a dating
- One study found that 38 percent of date
rape victims were young women from 14 to 17 years of age.
- A survey of adolescent and college
students revealed that date rape accounted for 67 percent of sexual
- More than half young women raped (68
percent) knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend or casual
- Six out of 10 rapes of young women occur
in their own home or a friend or relative's home, not in a dark alley.
- More than 4 in every 10 incidents of
domestic violence involves non-married persons (Bureau of Justice
Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence, May 2000)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE 1-800-650-6522