It is a common misconception that most sexual assaults are committed by strangers. You are more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone you know than by a stranger. You can also experience physical abuse in a dating relationship. If you or someone you know feels like they are in an abusive relationship, chances are it is.
Crisis intervention, information, and support are provided to teens. Call our HELPLINE 24 hours a day to talk confidentially to a counselor. Our Counselors help teen victims and survivors recognize the signs and understand the effects of violence on their own development, activities and relationships. Teens learn to identify their strengths and potential.
Dating Violence and Abuse Does your partner make you feel afraid of “doing the wrong thing”? Any teen or young adult can experience violence, abuse or unhealthy behaviors in their dating relationships just like adults do. It is not their fault. Every young person deserves a safe and healthy relationship, no matter who they are or who they love. You can also learn more about dating and healthy relationships at Love is Respect.
What Does Dating Violence Look Like?
Physical Abuse: Any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon.
Verbal or Emotional Abuse: Non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.
Sexual Abuse: Any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion or restricting access to birth control.
Digital Abuse: Use of technologies and/or social media networking to intimidate, harass or threaten a current or ex-dating partner. This could include demanding passwords, checking cell phones, cyber bullying, sexting, excessive or threatening texts or stalking on Facebook or other social media.
The abuse is never the victim’s fault. It may be tempting to focus on what the victim could have done to avoid abuse. It is important to remember that nothing a victim does invites or excuses abuse. There are many reasons a person stays in an abusive relationship. Liking the abuse is not one of them.
Telling someone to “just leave” the relationship is not the answer. There are many reasons why teens and 20-somethings stay in unhealthy relationships. For one, breaking up can be the most violent time in an abusive relationship. Without understanding the obstacles a young person may face and helping him or her through a safe separation, the situation usually gets worse, not better. Learn more about safety planning.