abuse in teen dating

Understanding Teen Dating Violence. A guide to recognizing abuse when it happens to young people. Teens and young adults are the most at-risk age groups for dating and domestic violence. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, abusers most often target women ages 18 to 24 (though all gender-identities can be targeted by abusers). Dating violence can be especially sinister because young people are often new to relationships, more trusting, more impulsive and may not have learned what healthy boundaries look like. They may be making adult decisions on their own for the very first time. An abuser may prey on this vulnerability, which is why it’s so important teens, and their parents or caregivers, learn the warning signs of abuse and point them out if present. Sign up for emails. Domestic violence encompasses dating violence, also called dating abuse, which is typically seen among younger and unmarried individuals. By definition, dating violence is the same as domestic violence—a pattern of control and coercion that can include physical violence as well as verbal, psychological, sexual, reproductive, financial and spiritual abuse. A relationship where one partner feels controlled by the other, or where the victim feels unsafe with their partner, is not a healthy one and denotes abuse. Some red flags of dating abuse young adults should look out for include when. Your partner demands you run things by them before doing them Your partner threatens you Your partner checks your phone or email, or demands to know your password to such things Your partner makes you feel guilty to get their way Your partner has been physically aggressive or violent with you Your partner pressures you into doing things you aren’t comfortable with Your partner blames you for everything that goes wrong Your partner calls you names and puts you down Your partner wants to be with you all the time and expresses frustration if you want to spend time away from them Your partner displays anger frequently and in a way that scares you Your partner incessantly calls or texts you Your partner needs to know where you are at all times. Losing interest in activities they once enjoyed Becoming more critical of themselves Becoming increasingly secretive and unwilling to share things with you Changing their appearance in a way that seems out of character No longer showing interest in friends Doing poorly in school Experiencing increased depression and anxiety Showing up with unexplained injuries or bruises Apologizing for their partner’s behavior, or minimizing it, when you question them about it Moving quickly in the relationship (talks of being in love or “soulmates,” moving in together, marriage or even wanting to start a family soon into the relationship) Expressing their partner has jealousy issues Needing to be constantly in communication with their partner Becoming isolated and distant from you and their friends. Almost every teen these days has access to a smartphone or computer, and most are active on social media sites like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. Technology is another way abusive partners can control, degrade, harass or otherwise abuse their victims. According to a study from the Urban Institute Project, 25 percent of dating teens have been victimized by their partners through technology. Of those, more than half of the victims said they were also physically abused. Only 9 percent of teens of digital abuse sought help, according to the report, and it was rarely from their parents or teachers.And much higher incidences of digital abuse from a dating partner were reported among LGBTQ youth compared to heterosexual teens. Using social media to monitor a partner’s whereabouts or track friendships Constant texting Coercing a partner into sending explicit selfies Coercing a partner for sex Sending degrading or threatening messages Demanding passwords to email and social media accounts Tampering with a partner’s social media account without their permission. Speaking of technology, abusers may also employ an especially disturbing abuse tactic called revenge porn, combining digital abuse and sexual abuse. Revenge porn is when a partner threatens to or actually does share explicit photos of a victim with the victim’s family members, friends, boss or the entire world without the subject’s permission. It’s a way to control, humiliate, discredit or coerce a victim to do something the abuser wants them to do, or possibly return or stay in a relationship. Revenge porn has grown increasingly more prevalent as technology and social media become constants in our lives. The same study from above found a third of those who experienced digital abuse also experienced sexual coercion from their partner. If you’re a victim of revenge porn, you should consider reaching out to a domestic violence advocate before calling police, security expert Spencer Coursen tells DomesticShelters.org. Having this liaison on your side will more likely result in police taking effective action. There is also form on Google you can fill out requesting an image of yourself be removed. You can also reach out to the End Revenge Porn Crisis Line for additional help. If a parent or caregiver recognizes possible signs of dating violence, they should talk to their teen immediately with both “concern and unwavering love,” says Anna Marjavi, program manager with Futures Without Violence. “Let them know, ‘I’m concerned about you and for these reasons, and these are things I’ve noticed.’ If they’re defensive or deny it, just let them know you’re there for them and they can always come to talk to you about this.” Statistics show that only a third of teens are likely to disclose dating violence or abuse to a trusted adult, friend or the police but not all of these teens will be believed. It’s important to take accounts of dating abuse seriously because abusers almost always escalate their tactics. Here are some resources a parent, caregiver or teacher may want to use to help teens learn about recognizing a healthy relationship and drawing boundaries with a partner: Free toolkits from LoveisRespect.org. Read one of these five young adult novels with your teen with themes that center on dating violence and abuse. Watch a show like Netflix’s You with your teen that provides a roadmap to dating violence (warning: this show has images of violence and is recommended for only those age 16 and above). Show teens The Halls, a web series created by teens that talks about masculinity, relationships and trauma. Have this talk with your college-age kid. Recognize what abusive texts sound like. Make a Donation. It is easy to ignore this message. Please don't. We and the millions of people who use this non-profit website to prevent and escape domestic violence rely on your donations. A gift of $5 helps 25 people, $20 helps 100 people and $100 helps 500 people. Please help keep this valuable resource online. According to a poll on DomesticShelters.org, nearly 60 percent of the respondents said they already did or plan on talking to their child about boundaries and consent before the age of 4. Advocates agree that starting the conversation early can have a profound impact on lowering a teen’s chances of experiencing dating violence later on. Learn ways to start this conversation here. You may also want to check out the book Girl Up, for teens, and this picture book for the younger crowd. Telling someone you trust is the first step. Be it a parent, teacher, other trusted adult or an advocate at a hotline (find one near you here or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE) it’s important not to keep this a secret. An order of protection can send a clear message to an abusive partner to stay away, and anyone over 18 can get one. Those under 18 can also get an order of protection, though the rules for filing for one varies by state–in some states, you will need an adult to accompany you. We've prepared a toolkit "Understand Teen Dating Violence" to help you understand even more what TDV is so you can better assess your relationship and understand your situation. Children's Safety Network. The Facts on Teen Dating Abuse. It can be hard for pre-teens and teens to know when a dating relationship is unhealthy. How can someone know what is “normal” in a relationship if they haven’t been in one before? When does “teenage drama” turn into abuse? Abuse takes many forms. Physical abuse includes hitting, kicking, shoving, hurting someone with an object or weapon, or breaking their things on purpose Sexual abuse includes forcing, pressuring, or blackmailing someone into doing something sexual (kissing, touching, or having sex) when they don’t want to or are unconscious Emotional abuse includes bullying behaviors (name-calling, yelling, and humiliating), keeping them away from friends and family, threatening them, getting them fired from their job on purpose, or stalking Digital abuse is a type of emotional or sexual abuse. It includes constant texts and phone calls, using social media or GPS/spyware to track someone’s location, stealing passwords, or pressuring them to send explicit photos and videos. Dating abuse is common. Dating abuse affects around one in ten high school students, and it is likely to be underreported. A CDC survey found that 10% of high school students had been physically hurt by a dating partner on purpose within the past year. This was higher among girls (12%) than boys (7%). Sexual violence was even more common, with 11% of students reporting being forced to do something sexual within the past year by a dating partner. Again, more girls (16%) reported this than boys (5%). Being scared of their abuser Not knowing whether a relationship is abusive or just “intense” Being afraid of being outed if LGBTQ+ Feeling guilty or ashamed, like the abuse is their fault Thinking nobody will believe them Having feelings for their abuser and hoping things will change Believing it’s “just how it is” or that abuse is acceptable, especially if they saw a lot of abuse as a child. The effects are damaging. These statistics are particularly troubling given the lasting impact dating abuse can have on victims. Students that had been abused by a partner were more likely than those that hadn’t to report being bullied on school grounds and missing school because they felt unsafe. Victims are also more likely to become depressed or anxious, use drugs or alcohol, become suicidal, or be abused in future relationships. It can be prevented. Teaching pre-teens and teens about healthy relationships is vital in preventing teen dating violence. By promoting positive relationship behaviors, teens learn about what they should expect from peers and how they are expected to behave toward peers, in both intimate and friendship relationships. Pre-teens and teens are forming ideas about relationships that can last a lifetime. Sources: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2015 CDC (2016) Kann L, McManus T, Harris WA, Shanklin SL, Flint KH, Hawkins J, Queen B, Lowry R, O’Malley Olsen E, Chyen D, Whittle L, Thornton J, Lim C, Yamakawa Y, Brener N, Zaza S. Preventing Teen Dating Violence. Teen dating violence (TDV), also called, “dating violence”, is an adverse childhood experience that affects millions of young people in the United States. Dating violence can take place in person, online, or through technology. It is a type of intimate partner violence that can include the following types of behavior: Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force. Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act and or sexual touching when the partner does not or cannot consent. It also includes non-physical sexual behaviors like posting or sharing sexual pictures of a partner without their consent or sexting someone without their consent. Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm a partner mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over a partner. Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim. Teen dating violence has profound impact on lifelong health, opportunity, and well-being. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. The good news is violence is preventable and we can all help young people grow up violence-free. Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name-calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship, but these behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence. Many teens do not report unhealthy behaviors because they are afraid to tell family and friends. Teen dating violence is common. Data from CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicate that: Nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 14 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year. About 1 in 8 female and 1 in 26 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year. 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18. Some teens are at greater risk than others. Sexual minority groups are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence, and some racial/ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by many types of violence. Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have short-and long-term negative effects, including severe consequences, on a developing teen. For example, youth who are victims of teen dating violence are more likely to: Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety Engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol Exhibit antisocial behaviors, like lying, theft, bullying, or hitting Think about suicide. Violence in an adolescent relationship sets the stage for problems in future relationships, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence perpetration and/or victimization throughout life. For example, youth who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college. Supporting the development of healthy, respectful, and nonviolent relationships has the potential to reduce the occurrence of TDV and prevent its harmful and long-lasting effects on individuals, their families, and the communities where they live. During the pre-teen and teen years, it is critical for youth to begin learning the skills needed to create and maintain healthy relationships. These skills include knowing how to manage feelings and how to communicate in a healthy way. CDC developed Dating Matters ® : Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships to stop teen dating violence before it starts. It focuses on 11-14-year-olds and includes multiple prevention components for individuals, peers, families, schools, and neighborhoods. All of the components work together to reinforce healthy relationship messages and reduce behaviors that increase the risk of dating violence. Please visit the Dating Matters website to learn more! CDC also developed a resource, Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices pdf icon [4.52 MB, 64 Pages, 508] that describes strategies and approaches that are based on the best available evidence for preventing intimate partner violence, including teen dating violence. The resource includes multiple strategies that can be used in combination to stop intimate partner violence and teen dating violence before it starts. Preventing Teen Dating Violence. Teen dating violence (TDV), also called, “dating violence”, is an adverse childhood experience that affects millions of young people in the United States. Dating violence can take place in person, online, or through technology. It is a type of intimate partner violence that can include the following types of behavior: Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force. Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act and or sexual touching when the partner does not or cannot consent. It also includes non-physical sexual behaviors like posting or sharing sexual pictures of a partner without their consent or sexting someone without their consent. Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm a partner mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over a partner. Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim. Teen dating violence has profound impact on lifelong health, opportunity, and well-being. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. The good news is violence is preventable and we can all help young people grow up violence-free. Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name-calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship, but these behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence. Many teens do not report unhealthy behaviors because they are afraid to tell family and friends. Teen dating violence is common. Data from CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicate that: Nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 14 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year. About 1 in 8 female and 1 in 26 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year. 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18. Some teens are at greater risk than others. Sexual minority groups are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence, and some racial/ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by many types of violence. Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have short-and long-term negative effects, including severe consequences, on a developing teen. For example, youth who are victims of teen dating violence are more likely to: Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety Engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol Exhibit antisocial behaviors, like lying, theft, bullying, or hitting Think about suicide. Violence in an adolescent relationship sets the stage for problems in future relationships, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence perpetration and/or victimization throughout life. For example, youth who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college. Supporting the development of healthy, respectful, and nonviolent relationships has the potential to reduce the occurrence of TDV and prevent its harmful and long-lasting effects on individuals, their families, and the communities where they live. During the pre-teen and teen years, it is critical for youth to begin learning the skills needed to create and maintain healthy relationships. These skills include knowing how to manage feelings and how to communicate in a healthy way. CDC developed Dating Matters ® : Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships to stop teen dating violence before it starts. It focuses on 11-14-year-olds and includes multiple prevention components for individuals, peers, families, schools, and neighborhoods. All of the components work together to reinforce healthy relationship messages and reduce behaviors that increase the risk of dating violence. Please visit the Dating Matters website to learn more!

CDC also developed a resource, Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices pdf icon [4.52 MB, 64 Pages, 508] that describes strategies and approaches that are based on the best available evidence for preventing intimate partner violence, including teen dating violence. The resource includes multiple strategies that can be used in combination to stop intimate partner violence and teen dating violence before it starts. Get Smart About Drugs. A DEA resource for parents, educators & caregivers. Get Updates. Download. Recursos. Find Help. Teen Dating Violence and Drug Use. According to LoveIsRespect.org, one third of U.S. adolescents are victims of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from someone they are dating. And almost 1.5 million high schoolers deal with physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. In fact, a 2017 study made the connection between teen dating violence and the misuse of prescription drugs. Researchers found that among young males, non-medical use of prescription drugs was connected to dating violence. And among the females, the non-medical use of prescription drugs was connected more often with the physical form of dating violence. What about other drugs?

Well cocaine, for example, can cause its users to be aggressive and paranoid; two traits that are likely to contribute to a hostile, abusive relationship. Types of Dating Violence. Physical – when a person hits, kicks, shoves his or her partner Psychological/emotional – could include name calling, bullying and isolation Sexual – forcing a partner to engage in a sex act when they don’t want to; threatening to spread rumors if a partner doesn’t want to have sex Stalking – constant, unwanted harassment. Dating violence also occurs over a computer or smartphone, and includes someone repeatedly texting a partner, or even posting a partner’s nude photos online. How to Help Your Teen. Your teen’s partner is jealous or possessive Unexplained bruises or marks on your teen Your teen is depressed; stops participating in activities they once loved You teen is constantly texted by his/her partner. Talk to your teen. Set aside some quiet time to talk to your teen, one-on-one, if your suspect they may be having serious issues in their relationship. See some good tips and potential questions at BreaktheCycle.org. Help them get professional help. Often, your teen won’t feel comfortable talking to you about these issues. If that’s the case, point them towards the resource below: National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 (you can also chat via the loveisrespect.org website, or text “love is” to 22522 to connect with a peer advocate 24/7) Educating yourself on teen dating violence and abuse (learning the signs, prevention measures, and its causes) can help you start a conversation with your young loved one early on before he or she starts to date. Check out some of the resources below to learn more. Research In Action. It is not surprising that intimate partner violence has elicited concern and media coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Partners are stuck at home together, stress has increased, and survivors are more isolated than ever before. But why should we be thinking about teen dating violence (TDV)?

Teens are staying at home, many schools are virtual, and they are supposed to be social distancing. So, if anything, shouldn’t we be seeing a decrease in TDV since the pandemic started?

Sadly, we cannot claim this benefit for adolescents during the COVID-19 crisis. LoveisRespect, the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s specific platform for teens and young adults, has had an increase of calls since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, the Hotline saw a 101% increase in reports of digital abuse from 2019 to 2020, many of these from young people.​​ 1 in 3 young people experience TDV, and dating violence has negative immediate and long-term effects. Research shows that victims of TDV are 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide, report increased alcohol and substance use, and suffer from increased rates of anxiety and depression. As the world has become more virtual, digital abuse has also increased. What Is Digital Abuse?

Digital abuse is a tactic of abuse that uses digital platforms, social media, or technology to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Examples of digital abuse are: Logging into or using a young person’s social networking account without permission Sending unwanted sexual messages or pressuring a young person to send sexual or naked photos Monitoring a young person’s activity or other conversations online; preventing a person from talking to friends or having conversations with anyone besides them Spreading rumors about a young person via text message, email, or social media or posting embarrassing photos of a young person online Creating a false profile page using the victims’ name to control them Threatening or harassing a young person over the phone or social media Using GPS locators from social media platforms to stalk a young person. In a 2013 randomized study, the Urban Institute surveyed 5,647 youth and found that “victims of digital abuse and harassment are 2 times as likely to be physically abused, 2.5 times as likely to be psychologically abused, and 5 times as likely to be sexually coerced.” Additionally, 94% of digital abuse victims were also victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse by a dating partner. This means that the digital methods were just one of the tactics used by an abusive partner. We cannot assume that the effects of digital abuse will be less detrimental to teenagers' well-being simply because they are supposed to be social distancing. Even for those complying with distancing guidelines, virtual relationships exist. Since social connections are limited, the type and quality of those connections are critical, and the ramifications of dating abuse are still real. What Can Providers Do to Address TDV? Many young people do not know how to talk about the abuse they are experiencing. They may not realize that digital abuse is a form of abuse or may be unsure how to discuss physical or emotional abuse with their provider. We cannot wait for a teenager to bring up the topic. Here are some suggestions on how to address TDV with adolescent patients: Ask direct questions. It's critical to continue to ask young people about their relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through in-person or telemedicine appointments. Include questions about physical, sexual, emotional and digital abuse. Encourage young people to keep passwords and social media pages private. Never normalize ‘jealousy’ as an excuse for controlling behavior. Start a conversation about online privacy and boundaries in relationships. Provide loveisrespect.org as a free and confidential resource for teenagers who seek to understand relationship dynamics. Abusive Teen Dating Relationships. Questions to determine whether you are in an unhealthy relationship. THE BASICS. Dating violence is a serious and widespread problem. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approximately 10% of high school students have reported physical and sexual victimization from a dating partner in the past 12 months. Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most susceptible to dating violence—about triple the national average. According to a survey by the CDC, 23% of females and 14% of males who experienced abuse by an intimate partner first experienced it between the ages of 11 and 17. Sadly, many of these young people fear reporting the abuse, so the number of incidents is likely much higher. In effort to help youth understand the importance of healthy relationships, I reached out to an survivor to share her story of unhealthy relationships, abuse and the quest for self-respect. Tanisha Bagley is no stranger to teen dating violence as she experienced it firsthand in her adolescent years. In fact, her abusive relationship began at the age of 15 when her high-school sweetheart started physically tormenting and psychologically abusing her. Tanisha explained her fear of being in the abusive relationship: “ He knew my every move, who I was with, where I was going, and who my friends were. He would threaten me, and tell me if I ever left him he would kill me. I began to believe him and. soon the words became my reality. He started forcing me to skip school lunch and have sex with him. Once when I refused, he threw me down a flight of stairs. He was very physically abusive. I remember, he use to cut me all over my body with a knife. If I so much as spoke with another guy, he would hit me. One time he punched me so hard he gave me a black eye only because he thought I knew another guy. In truth, I had never seen him. Because of the abusive relationship, I didn’t have a good high school experience.” Coming from a family where intimate partner violence was prevalent, Tanisha continued to live in the vicious abusive cycle, and she eventually married her abuser. The abuse continued in her relationship until one day, she decided to break free. She recalls disciplining her three-year-old son, and in her scolding he told her his ‘ daddy ’ would to take her ‘ in that room ’ (pointing to the room in which she was frequently abused) and beat her when he got home. That was the turning point. Tanisha knew at that moment if she didn’t leave her partner the abuse cycle would repeat. She questioned the messages she was sending her children and how it would affect them in the future. She knew she had no choice but to escape. Today, 14 years later, Tanisha carries her message to other abuse survivors by speaking out locally and nationally on issues of abuse. Additionally, she writes about her experience in order to help others who have been traumatized. Reflecting on her experience, she put together 10 essential questions for young people to ask themselves to determine if they are in a healthy relationship. Answering “ yes ” to any of these questions is a warning sign that you may be in an unhealthy relationship. According to Tanisha, “A healthy relationship is being in any type of relationship that allows you to always be who you are and not change who you are because of someone else.” She recommends trusting your instincts and not blaming yourself for another person’s decisions. She adds, "There should be a feeling of love and equality in a healthy relationship. Love does not hurt. A relationship should consist of patience, kindness and understanding." There are extreme consequences associated with unhealthy and abusive relationships. According to the CDC, teens in abusive relationships are more susceptible to depression and anxiety, unhealthy risk-taking behaviors (e.g., drug and alcohol use), self-harm, and suicidal ideation. Plus, teens who are in abusive relationships in high school are at greater risk of being in abusive relationships in college. "Your relationship could endanger your life. Love yourself enough to get the help you need to get out of the abusive relationship. No one deserves to be abused! It’s not your fault. You matter, your life matters, living a happy healthy life matters. If you are the parent of a teen who is in an abusive relationship, be supportive. Do not judge n=or place blame on your child. Abusive relationships are complicated and what your teen needs most is your unconditional love and support.” In closing, Tanisha adds, “Remember we all have a choice in life and no one should ever take that away from us. Love does not hurt, you are worthy, and you deserve the best. Don’t settle for less.” Vagi, K. J., Olsen, E. O., Basile, K. C., & Vivolo-Kantor, A. M. (2015). Teen dating violence (physical and sexual) among US high school students: Findings from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Pediatrics, 169, 474-482.


abuse in teen dating

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