It is by acts and not by ideas that people live – Harry Emerson Fosdick

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women ages 15-44.

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Teen Dating Violence

During the past 12 months, one in 10 teens said they have been hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once. And nearly half of all teens in relationships say they know friends who have been verbally abused.

Teen dating violence is the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship. Before violence starts, a teen may experience controlling behavior and demands from their partner. One partner may tell another what to wear and who to hang out with. Over time, the unhealthy behavior may become violent. That’s why adults need to talk to teens now about the importance of developing healthy, respectful relationships.

Recognizing the Signs of Dating Violence

Dating violence may be committed in a number of ways:

Physical violence, which may include:

  • Pinching
  • Shoving
  • Hitting or slapping
  • Grabbing
  • Kicking
  • Throwing
  • Shaking
  • Choking

Sexual violence, which may include:

  • Unwanted touching, fondling, or groping
  • Forced sexual activities
  • Pressure to have sex
  • Violence that does not involve physical contact
    • Threatening to find someone who will do what he or she wants sexually
    • Verbal or sexual harassment
    • Threats of sexual violence

Emotional abuse, which may include:

  • Name-calling, shouting, teasing, or bullying
  • Use of intimidation
  • Use of demeaning or derogatory language
  • Insults or rumors
  • Threats or accusations
  • Jealousy or possessiveness
  • Humiliation
  • Withdrawal of attention
  • Withholding of information
  • Deliberately doing something to make a dating partner feel diminished or embarrassed
  • Controlling behavior, such as dictating what a dating partner can wear
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Texting or instant messaging (IM-ing) excessively
  • Monitoring e-mail or a profile on a social networking site

What are the consequences of dating violence?
As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development. Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships can cause short term and long term negative effects or consequences to the developing teen. Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships.

Preventing dating violence
Dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.

Choose Respect

Choose Respect is an initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that helps teens form healthy relationships to prevent dating violence before it starts. This national effort helps parents, caregivers, older teens, educators, and other caring adults motivate teens to challenge harmful beliefs about dating violence and take steps to form healthy and respectful relationships. The following webpages offer information and resources for use at home, at school, and in the community to help teens learn about healthy relationships and making the right choices:

Impacts of dating violence and facts: http://www.cdc.gov/chooserespect/understanding_dating_violence/dating_violence_facts.html

What to do if your teen or someone you know is involved in teen dating violence:
http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html

This material was excerpted from the CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION website, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/