Teen Dating Violence
1 in 3 teens experience some form of abuse in a dating relationship
Physical abuse is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. Sometimes abusive behavior does not cause pain or even leave a bruise, but it’s still unhealthy. More than one in 10 high school students have already experienced some form of physical aggression from a dating partner, and many of these teens did not know what to do when it happened.
Sexual abuse refers to any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do. It can also refer to behavior that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including oral sex, rape or restricting access to birth control and condoms.It is important to know that just because the victim “didn’t say no,” doesn’t mean that they meant “yes.” When someone does not resist an unwanted sexual advance, it doesn’t mean that they consented. Some think that if the victim didn’t resist, that it doesn’t count as abuse. That’s not true. This myth is hurtful because it makes it more difficult for the victim to speak out and more likely that they will blame themselves. Whether they were intoxicated or felt pressured, intimidated or obligated to act a certain way, sexual assault/abuse is never the victim’s fault.
Verbal abuse may not cause physical damage, but it does cause emotional pain and scarring. It can also lead to physical violence if the relationship continues on an unhealthy path. Constantly being criticized and told you aren’t good enough causes you to lose confidence and lowers your self-esteem. As a result, you may start to blame yourself for your partner’s abusive behavior. Remember: emotional abuse is never your fault. Talk to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher, about the situation and make a safety plan.
Digital dating abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online. In a healthy relationship, all communication is respectful whether in person, online or by phone. It is never okay for someone to do or say anything that makes you feel bad, lowers your self-esteem or manipulates you.