Teen Dating Violence -- What You Can Do

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month! This effort raises awareness about preventing domestic abuse in relationships between young people across the country.

What is Teen Dating Violence (TDV)?

Teen dating violence, or TDV, comes in many forms. Technically, it is defined as physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. Although TDV can occur with a current partner, it can also happen online or from a previous partner.

Some facts about TDV:

  • One in 3 teens in the United States is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
  • While TDV can happen to anyone, girls between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of TDV.
  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students across the country experience TDV every year
  • Anyone of any gender can be the victim or the abuser in a relationship

How to recognize abuse?

Dating abuse happens when one partner uses power and control over the other person in a relationship.  Abuse can take many forms and sometimes it can be hard to identify. Abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or even digital. This Power and Control Wheel helps lay out the different kinds of abuse teens may face. It is always important to remember that violence in a relationship is NOT normal. Trust your gut if something feels wrong – either in your own relationship or a friend’s relationship. Here is a quiz you can take to help identify if you or someone close to you is in an abusive relationship.

What are the consequences of abuse?

There are serious long term and short term consequences of TDV. These include an increased chance for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Remember: Learning how to manage complicated emotions like anger and communicating with your partner are important aspects of a healthy relationship.

What should I do if I think I’m in an unhealthy relationship?

It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge that you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Remember that you are not alone. There are plenty of resources to help you out. You can always talk to a parent or another trusted adult and below is a list of some of these resources that can help you develop a plan. If you think a friend or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, these resources can help you figure out what to do next.

Bottom Line

If you feel you or someone close to you is in an abusive relationship, help is available