Teen Dating Violence: A Serious Problem

I never experienced any violence while dating as a teenager or otherwise and neither did either of my two sisters. We were lucky since statistically at least one of us should have experienced date violence of some form. According to the Bureau of Justice Report “Intimate Partner Violence:”

  • About one in three high school students’ will be a victim of an abusive relationship.
  • Thirty to fifty percent of teenage girls report having experienced teen dating violence.
  • Young women from 14 to 17 years account for 38% of date rapes.
  • Sixty percent of rapes occur with someone the victim knows at their home or a home of a friend or relative.

These statistics are frightening. But why is there so much dating violence? Why don’t teens report it? Teens often keep dating violence hidden because they:

  • Are inexperienced with proper dating relationships
  • Feel pressure from peers and media to act violently
  • Don’t want to rely on their parents
  • Have “romantic” views about love and relationships

According to the Rose Haven Center for Domestic Violence, in Alabama, teen-dating violence is greatly influenced by how teens view themselves and relationships.

Because of the influence of the media and music industry many young men believe:

  • they have a right to and should demand intimacy
  • it is there right to control their partner
  • being masculine means being physically aggressive
  • if they are loving towards their girlfriend they will lose respect.

Many teen girls are also conditioned towards abuse and believe that:

  • problems in the relationship are their fault and should be solved by them
  • abuse is normal and most relationships are abusive
  • no adults would understand and they don’t know who to ask for help
  • “their boyfriend’s jealousy, possessiveness and even physical abuse, is “romantic.”

Teenagers need to be taught that abuse is not normal and should not be part of a relationship. They need to realize that they can ask for and get help when it is needed. Girls need to realize that they are not responsible for the relationship and that abuse and possessiveness are not “romantic.” Boys need to realize that being aggressive does not make you a man and that they have to right to control or demand anything from their partner. Both boys and girls need to be taught the early warning signs that their date may become abusive.

Warning Signs of Possible Abuse
extreme jealousy controlling behavior
unpredictable mood swings blames others for his problems or feelings
isolates you from friends and family alcohol or drug use
threatens or uses force during an argument abused former partners or animals

As a parent it is important that you look for these possible signs in the person your child is dating. Also take anything that your child says seriously and don’t brush it off. Also watch for these signs that your teenager is already experiencing dating violence from the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence newsletter, Winter 1999

Signs of Dating Violence
physical injury pregnancy
indecision emotional outbursts
drop in school performance becomes isolated from friends
mood or personality changes

If you do suspect dating violence or your child tells you help your child develop a plan to end the relationship. Every state has a domestic violence hotline and services serving victims of domestic abuse with available resources. No matter how much your teen may want to they cannot change their partner and violence only gets worse.

See my related blogs:

When Should My Child Start Dating?

Does Violence In Video Games Affect Children?

Sexual Song Lyrics and Early Sexual Activity Linked

Stay tuned for upcoming blogs:

Teen Dating Safety

The Prevalence And Effects of Sex In The Media

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About Teresa McEntire

Teresa McEntire grew up in Utah the oldest of four children. She currently lives in Kuna, Idaho, near Boise. She and her husband Gene have been married for almost ten years. She has three children Tyler, age six, Alysta, four, and Kelsey, two. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to scrapbook, read, and of course write. Spending time with her family, including extended family, is a priority. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and currently works with the young women. Teresa has a degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University and taught 6th grade before her son was born. She also ran an own in-home daycare for three years. She currently writes educational materials as well as blogs for Families.com. Although her formal education consisted of a variety of child development classes she has found that nothing teaches you better than the real thing. She is constantly learning as her children grow and enjoys sharing that knowledge with her readers.