Teen Dating Abuse



Couple holding hands

If you are a victim of abuse yourself, please call the Love Is Respect hotline at 1-866-331-9474. To chat live and to get more info visit loveisrespect.org.

Did you know that every year teenagers, both males and females experience dating abuse? Many teenagers won’t notice the signs of a relationship gone wrong. This is not their fault. This is because it is not an issue that is taught in schools, and it is treated as a taboo topic. Society wants to help, but have questions about the best way to do this. Will they get hurt if I help them? What should I do to help keep them safe? Will they still go back to them in the end? Most people may not know where to start, so they end up hoping someone else will take notice. Within this article, we will be talking about how to spot the signs and give you the facts.

Abuse can come in many forms. Many think it is only physical, but it can be emotional, verbal or sexual as well. 25% of high school aged girls are in physically abusive relationships. This leads to a higher incidence of pregnancy. It also leads to an increase in sexually transmitted infections. In fact, these girls are 6 times more likely to experience one of these situations. Females between 16-24 are 3 times more likely to be abused by an intimate partner than older women. The teen years are definitely more vulnerable years and we need to be aware of the signs of abuse.

Another factor is that kids are dating at a younger age. Studies show that 72% of kids aged 13-14 are dating. Dating at such an early age may make it even more difficult to recognize the signs of abuse because you don’t have much experience to base your knowledge on. There are also issues with self esteem and self confidence that play into this situation. The scary thing is that this type of abuse can have other consequences such as thoughts of suicide, violence, eating disorders, alcoholism or even promiscuity.

So what are some of the signs? What red flags should we be looking for in our own relationships and those of friends and family? Firstly, does your partner put you down often? Name calling, shaming and critizing someone regularly is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Secondly, when someone is constantly switching the focus from them to you by accusing of not taking a joke or being too emotional. These statements bring feelings of confusion and uncertainty to relationships. Third, when one partner is always wrong, their opinions and actions are never right. They use words like horrible, wrong, always ruining things–these are attempts to control and belittle. Fourth, do you feel anxiety when they are around? Do you walk on eggshells so you don’t set them off? This is a high indicator that you are in an abusive relationship. No one should wonder if they will get the nice, sweet partner or the mean, critical partner! Lastly, extreme jealousy or suspicion is not healthy. While it is fine to not like other people checking your partner out, it is not okay to need to question every call, email, or social media post. They don’t need a record of your spending or all of your passwords. This type of behavior shows a serious lack of trust and may become isolating. If you find yourself dealing with these types of behaviors, you need to reach out to people you trust and get help. You may even need to call the number listed above but whatever you do, know there are people who will help you and want you to be safe!