Many of us think that sexual assault, abusive relationships, and sexual harassment only happen to adults. We're wrong. Teens experience such acts of violation too, and in alarming numbers. But they often don't realize the devastating effects of such behavior on their lives. Here are some facts about teen abuse, the red flags to recognize it, and the ways to get help if it happens to you or to someone you know.
Remember, no one – regardless of age or gender – deserves to be abused. If you or someone you love needs help, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-888-832-2272.
Facts About Teen Dating Violence
Teen dating violence is defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship, as well as stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and may occur between a current or former dating partner. The statistics about teen dating violence reveal that it is all too common:
• Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a
• One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating
partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
• One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or
• One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.
• Approximately 70% of college students say they have been sexually coerced.
Teen dating violence can have long-lasting effects:
• Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for
substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
• Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as
likely to get a STI.
• Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide, compared to 12.5%
of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.
• Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.
• Eighty one percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an
• A teen’s confusion about the law and their desire for confidentiality are two of the most significant barriers
stopping young victims of abuse from seeking help.
What Are the Risks of Teen 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.
Why Does Dating Violence Happen?
Communicating with your partner, managing uncomfortable emotions like anger and jealousy, and treating others with respect are a few ways to keep relationships healthy and non-violent. Teens receive messages about how to behave in relationships from peers, adults in their lives, and the media. All too often these examples suggest violence in a relationship is okay. Violence is never acceptable. But there are reasons why it happens.
Violence is related to certain risk factors. Risks of having unhealthy relationships increase for teens who:
• Believe it's okay to use threats or violence to get their way or to express frustration or anger.
• Use alcohol or drugs.
• Hang out with violent peers.
• Have multiple sexual partners.
• Have a friend involved in dating violence.
• Are depressed or anxious.
• Have learning difficulties and other problems at school.
• Don't have parental supervision and support.
• Witness violence at home or in the community.
• Have a history of aggressive behavior or bullying.
Dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.
For more resources on teen issues, please click here.
At school or at home, many teens may experience bullying. Bullying can encompass a wide variety of behaviors, from physical intimidation to teasing to online harassment. The crucial elements of bullying behavior is that it hurts another person physically or emotionally, the person being bullied has a hard time stopping the behaviors or defending herself or himself, and there is an imbalance of power between the bully and the person being bullied. If you or someone that you love is being bullied, Blackburn Center may be able to help. Please do not hesitate to call us at 724-836-1122 or 1-888-832-2272.
Click here to learn more about bullying.
More about Types of Abuse:
Children and Abuse