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No matter how young
1 in 3 teens in a dating relationship have been verbally, emotionally, sexually, or physically abused. Everyone, regardless of age, deserves to be in a healthy relationship.
Dating violence is a pattern of assaultive and controlling behaviors that one person uses against another in order to gain or maintain power in the relationship. The abuser intentionally behaves in ways that cause fear, degradation, and humiliation to control the other person. Forms of abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological.
Nearly 1 in 5 high school students will experience physical violence from someone they’re dating. Even more teens will experience verbal or emotional abuse during the relationship. 1 in 3 girls will be sexually assaulted before she turns 18. In more than half of those cases, the attacker is someone the girl goes out with.
Girls are not the only ones who are abused physically or emotionally in relationships. Boys also experience abuse, especially psychological abuse. Boys rarely are hurt physically in relationships, but when it happens, it’s often severe. Boys also can be pressured or forced into unwanted sex, by girls or by other boys.
Violence happens in same-sex relationships too. When it does, gay and lesbian teenagers often don’t know where to turn for help. If they are not comfortable telling people they’re gay it makes their situation even harder.
Often a relationship doesn’t start out violent, but the violence starts after the two people have known each other for a while. The one big exception is forced sex, sometimes called “date rape” or “acquaintance rape”. Forced sex can sometimes happen the first or second time two people go out, especially when one person has very little dating experience and is afraid to say “no”.
If you think something is wrong, it probably is.
It doesn't simply go away
What can I do?
Don’t think violence and abuse will just stop; violent behavior doesn’t simply go away.
If you think you, or someone you know is a victim of dating violence, know that:
· You are not alone.
· The abuse is not your fault.
· Trust your gut feelings and instincts.
· Surround yourself with supportive people.
Remember, it doesn’t have to continue. You can be safe. You can get help.
Talk to someone – a counselor, a coach, a teacher, a parent, a doctor, a minister or rabbi, or a close friend can help you get a better understanding of the situation and what you can do to change it. Know that you’re not alone and there are people who are available to listen and support you and your decisions. Take care of yourself and understand that there are ways to change the situation you’re in.
Make sure you’re safe:
Read how to create a Teen Dating Safety Plan.
You should never stay in a relationship where you’ve been hurt physically, sexually, and/or emotionally. Tell your partner what they are doing to you is unacceptable and that the abuse has to stop.
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s about getting the help and support you deserve. Abuse is serious, and you deserve better.