Any relationship can potentially be unhealthy. But when talking about dating violence, it’s important to know that young people experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault across the U.S.
Teen Dating Violence
While dating violence is harmful at any age, the effects on adolescents are more severe due to their age, vulnerability, and inexperience with intimate relationships. Specifically, teens who experience dating violence are more likely to engage in unhealthy relationship patterns in their adult lives.
What is the Relationship Spectrum?
All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to unhealthy to abusive. The spectrum helps differentiate between the types of relationships and determines their level of health. As the spectrum shows, a healthy relationship is based upon equality and mutual respect and involves honesty and clear communication.
What are the Warning Signs?
Dating violence is when one partner tries to control and have power over the other through coercion, intimidation, and manipulation. It can include just one instance of abuse but typically involves a repeated pattern of unhealthy behaviors over time.
Indicators of an unhealthy or abusive relationship include checking your phone without your permission, being very possessive, isolating you from your friends and family, insulting or putting you down frequently, excessive jealousy and insecurity, explosive temper and mood swings, and any form of physical harm or sexual pressure.
Still unsure if your relationship is healthy? Take this quiz to find out!
How Do I (Get) Help?
If you or someone you know is experiencing teen dating violence, reach out for help! Even if you can’t leave the relationship at that moment, creating a personal safety plan can help until you can.
- Call 911 if there is any threat of immediate danger.
- Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- Call: 1-866-331-9474
- Text: Loveis to 22522
You can also talk to your healthcare provider! Healthcare providers screen every patient for abuse, just as they do with depression, and are trained to assist individuals experiencing dating violence.
Take control today by exploring the characteristics of a safe, healthy relationship.