Teen Dating Violence
Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Dating violence often starts with teasing and name calling. These behaviors are often thought to be a “normal” part of a relationship. But these behaviors can set the stage for more serious violence like physical assault and rape.
Relationship violence often starts as emotional or verbal abuse and can quickly escalate into physical or sexual violence. And although many teens know at least one student who has been a victim of relationship violence, most parents either don't know it exists or don't know it is an issue.
Teen dating violence is defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship, as well as stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and may occur between a current or former dating partner. The abuse can begin at a very young age, as young as 11 or 12 years old. Friends of the couple are usually aware of the abuse and may be drawn into the situation.
Dating or relationship violence can occur at school---in the hall, in the classroom, in the parking lot, on the bus, at after-school activities, at a student’s workplace, at a school dance or at a student’s home. In teenage dating relationships, the abuse is often public with peers witnessing the abuse; however, the abuse can also occur in private.
If you can answer “yes” to any of the above questions, then your partner is being abusive towards you. You may want to look at your relationship more closely and find out more about teen dating violence.
What you can do
Remember that anyone can be a victim. If you suspect dating violence in our own relationship or in a friend’s relationship get help from someone you trust. Do something before the relationship gets worse or the violence increases. By reaching out, you may save someone’s life, including your own.
Why Does Dating Violence Happen?
Teens receive messages about how to behave in relationships from peers, adults in their lives, and the media. All too often these examples suggest violence in a relationship is ok. Violence is never acceptable. But there are reasons why it happens.
Violence is related to certain risk factors. Risks of having unhealthy relationships increase for teens who:
What Are The Consequences of Dating Violence?
Abuse in a dating relationship can be confusing and frightening at any age. But for teenagers, who are just beginning to date and develop romantic relationships, this abuse is especially difficult. When the abuse is physical or sexual, it can be easy to identify. Emotional abuse is much harder to recognize, but no less damaging.
As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development. Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships can cause short term and long term negative effects. Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships.
Dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.
If a person you know forces or intimidates you into sex it is called acquaintance rape. The terms “acquaintance rape” and “date rape” are often used interchangeably. This is often confusing and inaccurate. The term “date rape” implies a more romantic relationship. This term is most accurately used to describe an assault by a boyfriend or date. A great many acquaintance rapes do not occur in a dating context. An acquaintance is anyone you have some degree of familiarity with, i.e. classmate, co-worker, neighbor, friend, roommate’s brother, etc.
Most “date rapes” begin as a plan to have sex and evolve into aggression when the victim does not go along with it. The major determining factors of “date rape” appear to be centered around; entitlement, aggression, and miscommunication.
Since 97% of reported sexual assaults are committed
by males, it is imperative
Red flags that may show your teen may be experiencing abuse in her/his relationship:
I think my daughter’s/son's boyfriend/girlfriend is abusing her/him. What can I do?
You and your teen may also want to explore what services and options are available. Contact Mitchell Area Safehouse 605-996-4440 or toll free 1-888-996-8909. If a criminal act has happened, contact your local police department.
Shelter: (605) 996-2765 • Hotline: (605) 996-4440 • Visitation Center: 605-996-8880
Mitchell Area Safehouse and
Family Visitation Center
1809 North Wisconsin, Mitchell, South Dakota 57301