According to The Rave Project, teen dating violence is more common than you might think. Here are some surprising facts about teen dating violence:
- 20 percent of dating couples report some type of violence in their relationship.
- 40 percent of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
In “Dating Violence 101,” on the website teendvmonth.org, teen dating violence and abuse is defined as “a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.” This website provides a list for teens of the ten most common signs of abuse in a relationship. They include:
- Checking your cell phone or email without permission
- Constantly putting you down
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Isolating you from family or friends
- Making false accusations
- Mood swings
- Physically hurting you in any way
- Telling you what to do
If you think teen dating violence doesn’t occur in your community, think again. In the U.S., one in three high school students has been or will be involved in an abusive relationship. In Canada, the data is much the same. One a national study showed that between 16 and 35 percent of young women reported having experienced at least one physical assault by a male dating partner, 28 percent experienced at least one incident of sexual abuse in the previous 12 months, and 45 percent had been victimized in a dating relationship since leaving high school.
Teens who are victims of violence in their relationships are at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence. In addition, being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a STD. Being victims of rape and dating violence also leads to significantly increased risk of suicide for teens.
Despite the abundance of evidence showing that teen dating violence is a serious issue in North America, awareness of the problem is low. A majority of parents don’t see view teen dating violence as an issue, and only one-third of affected teens ever report abuse that happened in a relationship.
Would you like to learn more about what you and your church can do to inform your teens of the risks? Check out the excellent resources on the Rave Project Youth Resources page.