Teen Dating Violence: Scope of the Problem
One-third of teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their partner.
(Study on Teen Dating Abuse conducted by Teen Research Unlimited, 2005)
A 2013 study found that 26% of teens in relationships were victims of cyber dating abuse. Females were twice as likely to be victims as males.
(Technology, Teen Dating Violence and Abuse, and Bullying, 2013)
82% of parents feel confident they could recognize signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, 58% of parents could not identify the signs of abuse.
(Troubled Economy Linked to High Levels of Teen Dating Violence & Abuse Survey, 2009)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & queer (LGBTQ) youth are less likely than heterosexual youth to tell someone or seek help if they are being abused, and there are fewer resources for these teens.
(Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report, 2013)
Recognizing a warning sign does not necessarily mean someone is experiencing abuse, but several signs together may be cause for concern.
- Excessive jealousy or insecurity
- Attempts to isolate from friends and family
- Being too serious about the relationship too quickly
- Being worried or afraid of how the other partner will react to things
- Checking cell phone, emails or social media without permission
- Constant mood swings
- Constantly pressuring someone to have sex or do things that make them uncomfortable
- Destroying property or punching walls
Do Not Ignore Warning Signs
Trust yourself! If you think there is a problem in your relationship, you are probably right.
Controlling and violent behaviors will likely get worse over time, not better.
How to be a Good Friend
If you are worried about a friend who may be in a dangerous relationship, there are some things you can do to be a good friend.
- Start a Conversation – Let them know you have noticed things that concern you. Ask if they have noticed the same and how that makes them feel. Help your friend identify behaviors by sharing information about unhealthy relationship signs.
- Be Supportive – Don’t judge and keep an open mind. Remember your friend may not recognize the abuse. They may want it to stop, but not be ready to end the relationship. Help them get the resources they need like creating a safety plan.
- Keep Communication Open – Stay calm. Your friend needs you to listen and be supportive. What you see or hear may make you upset. People in abusive relationships most likely speak to a friend first and sometimes no one else. If you shut them out you may be shutting down their only connection to help.
- Get Support – If you feel your friend’s life is at risk or has been threatened, you can get emergency support by calling 911. House of Ruth Maryland is available to serve you too. Consider calling our 24-hour hotline for information, resources and support for yourself.
House of Ruth Maryland 24-Hour Hotline: 410-889-7884
National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
Love Is Respect, Online Chat: www.loveisrespect.org