Teen Dating Violence is much like Domestic Violence with a few differences.
Teen Dating Violence requires an intimate partner dating relationship.
Teen Dating Violence occurs when one of the partners in the dating relationship begins to control the other person.
The “abuser” in the dating relationship will start to have jealousy issues, tell the other person what to wear, who to talk to, where to go, and what to do. The abuser will keep tabs on the “victim” by searching social media, texting, and talking to friends. The abuse will usually fall under the guise of jealous. For example, the abuser will say things like, “I never see you anymore,” or “You spend too much time with your friends,” or “I just love you so much that I want you all to myself.”
The abuser will start to make the victim feel bad when they chose something over the abuser. Additionally, the abuser will begin to belittle, bully, and make the victim feel as though they are lucky to have the abuser. The name calling can lead to violence such as pushing, shoving, hitting, punching, and throwing things-all happening to the victim. The abuser may also threaten to hurt the victim or themselves if the victim tries to tell anyone or leave the relationship. Some abusers can go so far as to threaten the victim’s friends, family, or pets should the victim tell anymore what is going on.
During a Teen Dating Violence relationship, you may notice that the victim spends less or no time with friends or participating in activities that used to make them happy or that they enjoyed. You may also see marked weight loss or gain, unexplained injuries, see the victim making excuses for the abuser, and a dramatic change in grades, school performance, or other things such as poor work performance, should the victim also have a job. Finally, you may notice that the victim becomes withdrawn, emotional, and prone to outbursts over seemingly simple or benign things.
If any of this sounds like what you are someone you know is going through, there are a few things you can do.
One is to offer to listen and be there for the victim. You can call the National Domestic Violence hotline and get more education and advice as to what you can do as a friend or victim. Their number is 1-800-799-SAFE. You can also visit www.loveisrespect.org or call and speak to one of their advocates at 1-877-331-9474.
The worst thing that you can do is not educate yourself and your friends or kids.
Knowing how to recognize the signs of Teen Dating Violence is the best and most effective way to end it and keep your teens and/or yourself safe.
I am happy to answer questions from teens or adults.
Feel free to submit a question; email to: [email protected] and put “HWT Question” in the subject line. You may remain anonymous.
“It’s About Your Teen”
Susie Kroll specializes in speaking about Teen Dating Violence and Healthy & Safe Dating. She conducts workshops, keynotes, trainings, and seminars on issues specifically related to teens and their relationships. To schedule Susie for your next event, contact ImaginePublicity, 843.808.0859, [email protected]