What is it?
Teen dating violence is defined by the CDC as "physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person ages 12-18 in the context of a consensual, romantic relationship." According to
- 33% of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse.
- 50% of young people who experience rape or physical or sexual abuse will attempt to commit suicide.
- Only 1/3 of teens involved in an abusive relationship confide in someone about the violence.
Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide & violent behavior.
Why does it happen?
Teen dating violence is related to certain risk factors. Risks increase for teens who
- Believe that dating violence is acceptable
- Are depressed, anxious, or have other symptoms of trauma
- Display aggression towards peers or display other aggressive behaviors
- Use drugs or illegal substances
- Engage in early sexual activity and have multiple sexual partners
- Have a friend involved in dating violence
- Have conflicts with a partner
- Witness or experience violence in the home
Teens who have been abused hesitate to seek help because they do not want to expose themselves or are unaware of the laws surrounding domestic violence.
What can parents do to prevent it?
begin teaching their children about healthy dating behaviors in the early years, prior to the onset of puberty as research shows 72% of 13 and 14-year-olds are "dating." Kids need to be taught that
dating should be engaged in seriously and considered integral to the process of finding a lifetime marriage partner who shares their values and goals.
Keeping it simple, one of the best things parents can do to prevent teen dating abuse is to keep the lines of communication open between you and your teen.
Parents should always aim to know where their children and teens are, what they're doing, who they're with and when they'll be home.
For more information on preventing teen dating violence