Teen dating abuse occurs at surprising rates; one in five teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.
That statistic and other surprising facts about teen dating abuse
can be startling and frightening to parents of teens.
Dating abuse can happen to anyone, at any age, no matter what race or religion they are, and no matter what their level of education or economical background. Dating abuse also occurs in same-sex relationships.
It isn't an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day. Dating abuse (or "relationship abuse") is a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or boyfriend.
Abuse can cause injury and even death, but it doesn't have to be physical. It can include verbal and emotional abuse—constant insults, isolation from family and friends, name calling, controlling what someone wears—and it can also include sexual abuse.
If you're concerned that your teen may be in an abusive relationship, sit down and share these questions with him or her to help determine if it's necessary to take action.
Does your boyfriend or girlfriend:
Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
Act jealous or possessive?
Put you down or criticize you?
Try to control where he or she goes, what you wear or what you do?
Text or IM you excessively?
Blame you for the hurtful things they say and do?
Threaten to kill or hurt you or themselves if you leave them?
Try to stop you from seeing or talking to friends and family?
Try to force you to have sex before you're ready?
Hit, slap, push or kick you?
If your teen said yes to even one of these questions, he or she may be in an abusive relationship. Visit Loveisrespect.org
for more information.