©2019 by Erie Coalition for a Trauma Informed Community.
Erie County
Pennsylvania

Safe Dates Matter


For teens, going to a movie, concert, or restaurant, or just hanging out together as a couple is supposed to be fun. But for many young people, dating relationships that begin innocently enough turn into encounters with fear and violence. One in three young people will be in an abusive relationship, and only about one-third of those teens ever tell anybody about it. 

 

 

  • 1 in 5 teens know a victim of dating violence.

  • 1 in 3 young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship.

  • 1 in 10 high school students have been purposely hit, slapped, or physically hurt by a boyfriend or a girlfriend.

  • 80% of girls who have been abused keep dating their abuser.

  • 1 in 4 dating teens are abused or harassed online or through text by their partners.   

  • 81 % of parents do not realize that their teens are involved in teen dating violence.

 

Domestic violence isn’t limited to adult relationships. Teens are in danger, and we’re called as a community to treat everyone with the respect they deserve and protect our young people from toxic, damaging relationships. Dating abuse is defined as physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. The abuse can occur in person or electronically between a current dating partner or a former dating partner. Dating abuse happens any time one person, in either an opposite or a same-sex relationship, uses a pattern of manipulative or controlling behaviors to achieve or maintain power over another person. Domestic violence is all about power and control over a victim, regardless of age.

 

Physical abuse is only one aspect of teen dating violence. Teen dating violence, just like domestic violence, involves so much more than physical abuse like punching, pushing, and choking. Emotional abuse, such as intimidation, isolation, and verbal insults can leave long-lasting effects even greater than bruises or broken bones, which will heal.  Other types of abuse include sexual and technological.

 

 

 

You may be a victim of teen dating violence if your partner:

 

  • Blames others, like you, for their problems.

  • Accuses you of cheating.

  • Gets serious too quickly.

  • Tells you what you are and are not “allowed” to do.

  • Does not treat you like an equal.

  • Has unpredictable mood swings.

  • Is jealous and possessive.

  • Isolates you from your friends and family.

  • Uses drugs or alcohol as an excuse for being abusive.

  • Threatens to harm themselves or commit suicide.

  • Threatens to hurt you, your loved ones, or your pets.

  • Blames you when they mistreat you.

  • Monitors your cell phone, emails, and social media accounts.

  • Constantly belittles you. 

 

Safe Journey recently developed a website that calls attention to the dangers of teen dating violence. Safedatesmatter.org provides teens and their parents with the tools they need to recognize the warning signs and how to deal safely with teen dating violence. Safedatesmatter.org provides information on healthy and unhealthy relationships, technology abuse, LGBTQ dating abuse, where to get help if you are in an abusive relationship, what to do if the abuser is well-liked by others, and how to help a friend who is being abused by a dating partner. There are relationship quizzes, too. The website also has advice for parents if they suspect their children may be involved in abusive teen dating relationships.

 

 

 

Knowledge is power. Teens and children need to know that abuse is never OK and that victims are never at fault. 

 

References:

Dating Violence Prevention

Preventing Teen Dating Violence

National Criminal Justice Reference on Teen Dating Violence 

Teen Dating Violence Month Information

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