Teen dating violence is more common than anyone wants to believe. 40% of teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 17 report knowing someone who has been hit, slapped or pushed by a girlfriend or boyfriend. Statistics show that girls and young women between the ages of 16-24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. Click around the RESPOND site to learn or more, or call the hotline 24/day at 617-623-5900 to get your call answered by a certified domestic violence counselor.
Know the Signs
Teenagers all too often do not know the signs of an unhealthy relationship or normalize behaviors that do actually qualify as domestic violence or as unhealthy. Teenagers face social pressure to fit in. Intimate relationships often play out in public as people ‘gossip’ and know intimate details about their classmates relationships either from day to day gossip, social media, text messaging and email chains. As a friend, family member or someone who may be in an unhealthy relationship, figuring out unhealthy behaviors is the first step in helping or making a decision to leave. The warning signs to look out for are unique for the teenage population:
- Getting very serious very quickly (going from 0-100 in a short amount of time, ‘I love you’ within the first few weeks of a dating relationship.)
- Constant and obsessive jealousy (always questioning the other persons whereabouts and motives)
- Isolation from friends or family
- Controlling what someone wears, how someone dresses
- Unrealistic expectations what someone should do and how much time someone should put into a relationship
- Constant communication via text or other forms of social media
- Mostly one individual has much of the power and control in the relationship
- Drastic changes in the tone of relationships (constant talking and then refusals to speak)
- Personal insults, name calling, put downs, degradation, lack of respect
- Force or coercion to do things that one person does not feel comfortable with (often times this is comes in the form of sexual pressure.)
- Tracking or stalking via GPS or other technological means
- Violence towards others or other things (hitting walls, getting into physical altercations outside of the relationship)
- Threats of abuse (verbal or physical)
- Fear of partner
- Physical abuse
Are any of the warning signs in the list above familiar? You, a friend or a loved one may be in an abusive relationship. Call the RESPOND hotline and speak with a certified domestic violence counselor 24/day at 617-623-5900.
- Tell someone if you see or hear acts of dating violence – tell a teacher, tell a parent, tell a friend or other trusted adult If you witness violence, call 911 for emergency assistance.
- If you are in school, there are a number of places to go for help. There are many helpful professionals with an understanding of teen dating violence that work within school systems. You can speak to a guidance counselor, health teacher, principle or other trusted teacher to access to resources and get help.
- Support a friend who may be in an abusive relationship – listen and hear them in a non-judgmental way.
- Protect yourself – know the warning signs of an abusive relationship. If you’re concerned ask for help.
- Lead by example – treat your girlfriend or boyfriend with respect, the way you would want to be treated.
All services are free and confidential
- RESPOND (24/hour Hotline) 617-623-5900 The RESPOND hotline is fully-staffed by certified domestic violence counselors 24 hours a day to listen and support all callers. Individuals who answer the hotline are trained in the dynamics of domestic abuse and know about the support services available for victims of violence. Anyone who has questions about their own relationship or those of a friend or family member are encouraged to call.
- National Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474