Dating violence is widespread with serious long-term and short-term effects. Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family. A 2011 CDC nationwide survey found that 23% of females and 14% of males who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age. A 2013 survey found approximately 10% of high school students reported physical victimization and 10% reported sexual victimization from a dating partner in the 12 months before they were surveyed.
Dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence. It occurs between two people in a close relationship. The nature of dating violence can be physical, emotional, or sexual.
• Physical—This occurs when a partner is pinched, hit, shoved, slapped, punched, or kicked.
• Psychological/Emotional—This means threatening a partner or harming his or her sense of self-worth. Examples include name calling, shaming, bullying, embarrassing on purpose, or keeping him/her away from friends and family.
• Sexual—This is forcing a partner to engage in a sex act when he or she does not or cannot consent. This can be physical or non-physical, like threatening to spread rumors if a partner refuses to have sex.
• Stalking—This refers to a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics that are unwanted and cause fear in the victim.
Dating violence can take place in person or electronically, such as repeated texting or posting sexual pictures of a partner online. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime.
Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship. However, these behaviors can become abusive and develop into more serious forms of violence. Dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.
To read more on teen dating violence, click here.