Teen Dating Violence
Teen dating violence (TDV) is a pattern of behavior that includes physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse used by one person in an intimate relationship to exert power and control over another.
TDV is generally defined as occurring among individuals between the ages of 13-19 years old. Like intimate partner violence among adults, TDV occurs without respect to age, race, religion, socioeconomic status or sexual orientation.
What Does Teen Dating Violence Look Like?
Approximately 25% of teens report experiencing TDV annually (Noonan & Charles, 2009). It can include emotional, verbal, physical and/or sexual abuse. In most cases of TDV, violence is used to get another to do what he/she wants, to gain power and control, to cause humiliation and to promote fear, and to retaliate against a partner (Foshee & Langwick, 2010).
How does Teen Dating Violence differ from Adult Intimate Partner Violence?
A article published by the National Institute of Justice discusses current research on TDV and concludes that there are three key differences between adult and teen dating relationships:
- Abusive teen relationships typically lack the same unequal power dynamic found in adult intimate partner violence relationships. Adolescent girls are not often dependent on their partner for financial support and do not typically have children to provide for and protect.
- Teens have limited experience with romantic relationships and negotiating conflict.
- Teen relationships are more readily affected by the influence of peers.
Because the dynamics of intimate partner abuse are different in adolescent and adult relationships, it is important not to apply an adult framework of intimate partner violence to teen dating violence.[Source: MCADSV]
Warning Signs of Dating Abuse
Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:
- Checking your cell phone, social media 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
- Threatening suicide and/or self harm if you leave
- Telling you what to do
- Pressuring or forcing you to engage in sexual activities you aren’t comfortable with
Learn more about how unhealthy relationships work by exploring our power and control wheel.[Source: loveisrespect.org]
Do You Need Help?
- Harmony House: Services for those 17 years of age or older
- The Victim Center: Group therapy, individual therapy, on-site advocacy
- Family Justice Center: Support services, protection orders, legal services
- Rare Breed: Services for at risk youth and homeless youth
- Great Circle: Temporary shelter for youth
- GLO Center: LGBTQ+ support and activities
- Love is Respect: loveisrespect.org
- Break the Cycle: breakthecycle.org
- One Love Foundation: joinonelove.org
- Scarleteen: scarleteen.org
- RAINN: rainn.org
- National DV Hotline: thehotline.org
- SPARC: sparc.org
- Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255