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Dating Violence

Dating Violence:

What is it?  Am I a victim?


According to a study on Teen Dating Abuse1, 1 in 5 teens, who are in a serious relationship, report having been hit, slapped, or pushed by their partner.  The study also reveals that almost half of teens in a relationship have been victimized by controlling behaviors from their partner.2  Other studies indicate that as a dating relationship becomes more serious, the potential for, and nature of, violent behavior escalates.3 

How can you be sure that you are not a part of these statistics?  By understanding what Dating Violence is, how to recognize the warning signs, and where to go for support if you are in an unhealthy relationship. 

What is it?4

The National Center for Victims of Crime define dating violence as "controlling, abusive behavior in a romantic relationship...including verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse".  Girls are more likely to yell and threaten to hurt themselves, while boys are more likely to hit their partner or force them to participate in unwanted sexual activity.

      Controlling Behavior may include:

  • Not letting you hang with your friends
  • Calling and/or texting you frequently to find out where you are, whom you're with, and what you're doing
  • Telling you what to wear
  • Having to be with you at all times

      Verbal & Emotional Abuse may include:

  • Calling you names
  • Jealousy
  • Cutting you down
  • Threatening to hurt you, someone in your family, or him/her self if you do not do what they want

      Physical Abuse may include:

  • Shoving
  • Punching
  • Slapping
  • Pinching
  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Hair Pulling
  • Strangling

      Sexual Abuse may include:

  • Unwanted touching and kissing
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Not letting you use birth control
  • Forcing you to do sexual things


Recognizing the Warning Signs5

Teen dating violence is often hidden because teens typically:

  • are inexperienced with dating relationships
  • are pressured by peers to act violently
  • want independance from parents
  • have "romantic" views of love

Teen dating violence is influenced by how teenagers look at themselves and others. 

Young men may believe:

  • they have the right to "control" their female partners in any way necessary
  • "masculinity" is physical aggressiveness
  • they "possess" their partner
  • they should demand intimacy
  • they may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive towards their girlfriends

Young women may believe:

  • they are responsible for solving problems intheir relationship
  • their boyfriend's jealousy, possessiveness, and even physical abuse is "romantic"
  • abuse is "normal" because their friends are also being abused
  • there is no one to ask for help

Teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have cghoices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with respect.


Early warning signs that your date may become abusive:

     Extreme jealousy                       Shows hypersensitivity

     Controlling behavior                   Believes in rigid sex roles 

     Quick involvement                     Blames others for problems and feelings

     Unpredictable mood swings         Cruel to animals or children

     Alcohol and drug use                 Verbally abusive

     Explosive anger                        Abused former partners

     Threatens violence                   Uses force during an arguement

     Isolates you from friends and family


Get Help & Support

If you feel you are in an unhealthy relationship and/or a victim of dating violence, you are not alone.  It is not your fault.  There is help out there for you.  Get help immediatly.


You may want to talk to an adult you trust, like your parent, teacher, doctor, counselor, or coach.  If you do not feel comfortable talking to someone you know, there are several hotlines set up to assist those in an unhealthy relationship or victims of dating violence.  These hotlines keep all calls confidential and will help you figure out a plan that is best for you.  A few of them are:

National Domestic Violence Hotline:  1-800-799-SAFE(7233)

National Dating Abuse Helpline:  1-866-331-9474

Safe in Hunterdon:  1-888-988-4033

More information about this topic can be found on any of the websites cited in this article.




  1. Liz Claiborn, Inc., Study on Teen Dating.
  2. Liz Claiborn, Inc., Study on Teen Dating.
  3. Teen Dating Violence Resource Manual (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
  4. This entire section taken from the National Center For Victims of Crime
  5. This entire section taken from the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence