Teen Dating Violence

Teen Dating Violence

What is teen dating violence and how can we help prevent it?

Healthy relationships are defined as people creating positive connections based on mutual respect, trust and honesty. Unfortunately, in today’s teen culture, teen dating violence has become a serious issue among our youth. As parents, family members, friends, community members and organizations, we must work together in order to help end teen dating violence and promote healthy relationships. How do we do this? We first need to understand what teen dating violence is, the current climate on the issue, what the consequences are, and how can we stop it before it starts.

Teen dating violence definition

Teen dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence that occurs between two people in a relationship. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are four types of teen dating violence behavior:

  • Physical Violence: When a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force
  • Sexual Violence: Forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event (e.g. sexting) when the partner does not or cannot consent
  • Psychological Aggression: The use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over another person
  • Stalking: A pattern or repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim

Where does teen dating violence take place?

Teen dating violence can take place in-person or electronically, such as texting, direct messages through social media, or the posting of sexual pictures of a partner online without consent. Most teens don’t realize that federal law considers any sexually suggestive image of a minor to be child pornography. Visit the Bark Blog for the connected family to learn more about state-by-state differences in sexting laws.

Teen dating violence statistics

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, teen dating violence affects millions of teens in the U.S. each year. Research indicates that:

  • Nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year
  • About 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year
  • 26 percent of women and 15 percent of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18

teen-dating-violence-statisticsWhat are the consequences of teen dating violence?

Abusive, violent or unhealthy relationships can have severe short and long term consequences in a teen’s life. Youth who are victims of teen dating violence are more likely to:

  • Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Partake in underage drinking and the use of tobacco and/or other drugs
  • Exhibit antisocial behaviors such as lying, theft, bullying or hitting
  • Think about suicide
  • In extreme cases, death

The CDC states violence in an adolescent relationship sets the stage for problems in future relationships, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence perpetration and/or victimization throughout life. For instance, youth who are victims of teen dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.

How to stop teen dating violence before it starts?

It is our responsibility to teach the next generation how to develop healthy, respectful and nonviolent relationships. The CDC lists six strategies on how to prevent teen dating violence, which are applicable to home, school and community environments:

  1. Teach safe and healthy relationship skills
    • Social and emotional learning programs for youth
    • Healthy relationship programs
  2. Engage influential adults and peers
    • Bystander empowerment and education
    • Men and boys as allies in prevention
    • Family-based programs
  3. Disrupt the developmental pathways toward partner violence
  • Early childhood home visitation
  • Preschool enrichment with family engagement
  • Parenting skill and family relationship programs
  • Treatment for at risk youth and families
  1. Create protective environments
  • Improve school climate and safety
  • Improve organizational policies and workplaces climate
  • Modify the physical and social environments of neighborhoods
  1. Strengthen economic supports for families
  • Strengthen household financial security
  • Strengthen work-family supports
  1. Support survivors to increase safety and lessen harms
  • Victim-centered services
  • First responder and civil legal protections
  • Treatment and support for survivors of intimate partner violence, including teen dating violence
  • Housing programs
  • Patient-centered approaches

How Just Say YES programs address teen dating violence

TAKE ACTION TOWARD A SOLUTION TODAY by booking a Just Say YES student school assembly, professional development and/or parent program. Our featured speakers share powerful stories of how unhealthy relationships and dating violence has affected their own lives, and will:

  • Educate students on what an unhealthy relationship really looks like and how critical it is to establish healthy boundaries
  • Provide students with effective tools on refusal skills, how to identify signs of abuse, and what to do if they detect violence in a relationship
  • Educate parents and educators on how to identify signs of dating violence and evaluate their child’s behaviors
  • Inform parents and educators on what approach to use in order to help their child/student get out of an abusive or unhealthy relationship

Just Say YES Featured Speakers:

Keith and Sara Davis
Dynamic Husband and Wife Duo

Tory Gant
National PALS Trainer

Gabe Salazar
Top Latino Youth Speaker in the Nation

Carlos Phillips
Educator, SRAS Certified

For more information on a particular speaker, or to book a program, visit our Contact Us page. Fill out the form and a Just Say YES representative will respond to you promptly!

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