Teen dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. Teens and young adults experience the same types of abuse in relationships as adults do. This can include:
- Physical abuse: any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon
- Emotional abuse: non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking
- Sexual abuse: any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion or restricting access to birth control
While young people experience the same types of abuse as adults, often the methods are unique to teen culture. For example, teens often report “technological abuse” – receiving threats by text messages or being stalked on facebook.
According to the National Resource Center for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month:
- Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
- One in three adolescent girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
- One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
- One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.
- In a national sample of 117 adolescents, who were selected from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health because they reported exclusively same-sex intimate relationships, 24% of males and 28% of females reported physical violence
According to a recent study of 1,430 7th graders released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
- 37% surveyed reported being a victim of psychological dating violence
- 15% surveyed reported being a victim of dating violence
- Nearly three-quarters of students surveyed reported talking to their parents about dating and teen dating violence
In South Carolina:
- According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey released by the SC Department of Education in 2012, 11% of students surveyed in SC had been physically forced to have sexual intercourse
- According to the same report, 12% of students surveyed reported being physically assaulted by a boyfriend or girlfriend