What is Teen Dating Violence?
Some behaviors within dating relationships that seem innocent, such as teasing or name-calling can become abusive and develop into violence over time. Dating violence can occur in-person or online and can include the following types of behavior:
Physical violence: One partner hurts another through physical force, such as pushing, hitting or kicking.
Sexual violence: Forced or coerced engagement in a sex act or sexual touching without consent. Sexual violence can also include non-physical sexual behavior, such as posting sexual/nude photos or “sexting” someone without their consent.
Psychological aggression: The use of verbal and non-verbal communication to cause mental or emotional harm or to exert control over a partner.
Stalking: A pattern of repeated, unwanted attention or contact by a current or former partner that causes fear and safety concerns for the victim and/or people close to them.
Who is affected by Teen Dating Violence?
*According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the CDC in 2019.
The CDC also reports that female students and those who identify as LGBTQ+ are at higher risk for physical and sexual dating violence than their male or heterosexual peers.
Dating violence affects millions of young people in the United States and is often unreported due to fear, guilt or shame.
Consequences of Dating Violence
Youth who experience dating violence are more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior such as smoking, drinking alcohol and using illicit drugs. They are also at increased risk for anxiety, depression and suicide. Some teen victims may begin to exhibit antisocial behavior like physical violence, lying, stealing or bullying.
Prevention and Intervention
If you or a teen you know is a victim of dating violence, there is help available. You can call or text the National Dating Abuse helpline 24/7 at 866-331-9474 or visit www.loveisrespect.org.
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