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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

One in three teens will experience some form of abuse in a dating relationship.

 Teen violence is defined as the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner. Several different words are used to describe teen dating violence. Below are just a few.

  • Relationship abuse
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Relationship violence
  • Dating abuse
  • Domestic abuse
  • Domestic violence

  What are the consequences of dating violence?

As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by experiences in their relationships. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development. Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have severe consequences and short and long-term negative effects on a developing teen. Youth who experience dating violence are more likely to experience the following:

  • Symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Engagement in unhealthy behaviors, such as tobacco and drug use, and alcohol
  • Involvement in antisocial behaviors
  • Thoughts about suicide

Additionally, youths who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.

Violence is related to certain risk factors. Risks of having unhealthy relationships increase for teens who

  • Believe that dating violence is acceptable
  • Are depressed, anxious, or have other symptoms of trauma
  • Display aggression towards peers or display other aggressive behaviors
  • Use drugs or illegal substances
  • Engage in early sexual activity and have multiple sexual partners
  • Have a friend involved in dating violence
  • Have conflicts with a partner
  • Witness or experience violence in the home

 

Seek help if you are a victim.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline

National Sexual Assault Hotline

 

Source: CDC & Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence.