New Choices | Teen Dating Violence
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Teen Dating Violence

What is Teen Dating Violence?

Never be ashamed to ask for help if the person your dating mistreats or abuses you.


The person you are dating hits you or subjects you to other types of physical pain or harm.


The person you are dating acts very jealous or is controlling, says hurtful or insulting things to you, or betrays your trust by having a relationship with someone else or routinely lies to you.


The person you are dating threatens or coerces you to engage in sexual activities that you don’t want to do.

Am I a Victim of Teen Dating Violence?

The first time should be the last time you let someone you’re dating hurt you.

Maybe you think that this is normal behavior in a relationship or you believe that what is happening is a sign of how much the other person loves you. But teen dating violence (also called intimate relationship violence, intimate partner violence among adolescents or adolescent relationship abuse) is not about love, but power and control.


Here are some indications that what you are experiencing is really a form of teen dating violence:

  • Does the person you are dating treat you roughly or even sometimes hurt you, but later says, “I didn’t mean it” or “It’s your fault because you made me mad”?
  • Do you find yourself trying not to upset the person you are dating, or do things you don’t want to because you don’t want to make him or her angry?
  • Do you hide bruises he or she caused from your friends or family members because you don’t want to explain what happen?
  • Do you defend him or her when your friends or family question how you’re being treated or raise concerns about safety or well-being?
  • Has he or she threatened you with a weapon of any kind?
  • Does the person you are dating demand that you do certain sexual activities if you want to stay in the relationship, saying “If you loved me, you would . . .”
  • Does the person you’re dating allow his or her friends to touch you inappropriately or even make it a condition of the relationship?
  • Does the person you are dating threaten to cheat on you or betray your trust?
  • Does he or she insult you, make fun of you or verbally abuse you in front of others, but in private says, “You know I was only kidding, you know I love you”?
  • Does he or she threaten to leave you and tell you that no one else would want you?
  • Does he or she tell you what friends you can have or what you can do as the terms for keeping the relationship? Is the other person always in charge or always making the decisions for the two of you?
  • Do you suspect the other person might be keeping tabs on you or stalking you?
  • Does this person make frequent promises to change or stop doing something that hurts or frightens you—but keeps doing it anyway?

Dating violence can happen to anyone, whether you’re a girl or a guy. You don’t deserve it and you don’t have to take it.

What Should I Do?

Never think that violence, possessiveness or anger is a sign of how much the other person loves you. It isn’t.

The most important step to take in getting out of an abusive relationship is believing that no one has a right to hurt you or force you to do things you don’t want to do. You have the right to be treated with respect and have your rights acknowledged and accepted.


Also understand that you aren’t alone. Approximately two thirds of 12 to 18 year olds who are currently in a relationship or had been in one in the past year said they had been victims of teen dating violence.


If you are being abused in any way by someone you are dating, here are some ways you can get help.

Tell Someone

Confide in someone you trust, like a friend, a family member, a teacher or guidance counselor at school or your doctor.

Change Your Routine

Use the buddy system when you are going place and change your route to school or work.

Get Medical Help

If you have been physically injured or sexually hurt, or been intimate with the person but not used protection, talk to your doctor.

Talk to the Police

If you are afraid the person you are dating is going to hurt you if you leave, or if he or she has threatened to commit suicide to make you stay, talk to the authorities.

Get Some Counseling

Even when you know you are doing the right thing, ending a relationship can leave you feeling angry, sad, jealous or lonely. Talking to a professional can help you work through the break-up and help build your self-esteem, helping you avoid a similar relationship, or falling back into the same relationship.

Dating violence is a big deal—no matter what the other person says. You have a right to be in a safe and caring relationship with someone who respects you.

If Your Friend is Experiencing Teen Dating Violence

Maybe you’ve witnessed your friend being hurt by the person he or she is dating. Or it might be that your friend has stopped attending activities or hanging out with you and the rest of your group. If you are worried that your friend might be a victim of dating violence, here are some ways you can help.

  • Encourage your friend to talk to you and share what he or she is feeling or experiencing.
  • If your friend makes excuses for the other person, tell him or her that the behavior is wrong.
  • If your friend is afraid of the other person, encourage him or her to talk to a family member, another trusted adult or even the police.
  • Don’t blame your friend for what is happening. Instead, ask how you can help.
  • Don’t tell your friend to leave the relationship since he or she might be afraid of being harmed by the other person. Instead, encourage your friend to find ways to stay safe and keep encouraging them to reach out for help.
  • If you believe your friend is in serious danger, talk with an adult you trust immediately about your friend’s situation.

If Your Child is Experiencing Teen Dating Violence

Teens often feel that grownups don’t take their relationships seriously.

The most important thing you can do is not be judgmental or immediately start attacking the person your child is dating. That can make him or her become defensive or try to protect that person.


Here are some signs that your child might be in an abusive dating relationship:

Here are some signs that your child might be in an abusive dating relationship:

  • Unexplained bruises, broken bones, sprains, or marks.
  • Excessive guilt or shame for no apparent reason.
  • Secrecy or withdrawal from friends and family.
  • Avoiding school or social events with excuses that don’t seem to make any sense.
  • Signs of depression and anxiety, starting to use tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, or even talking about suicide.
  • Indications that the other person is trying to control or keep track of your child.

How you can help:

  • Educate yourself on teen dating violence through online and print resources so you can learn how best to talk to your teen effectively.
  • Be as calm and neutral about the other person as possible, listening more than you talk.
  • Keep the lines of communication open so your child continues to talk to you.
  • Make sure you are modeling healthy relationship behavior and you talk about what constitutes a healthy and respectful relationship.
  • Keep in mind that your child is more likely to ask a friend for help rather than you or another adult.

If you need help or advice, call us at 937-498-7261, or email us at


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