Teen dating violence (TDV) is a type of intimate partner violence. It occurs between two people in a close relationship.
TDV includes four types of behavior:
- Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
- Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event (e.g. sexting) when a partner does not or cannot consent.
- Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over another person.
- Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one's own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.
Dating violence can take place in person or electronically, such as repeated texting or posting sexual pictures of a partner online without consent. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Teens often think some behaviors, list teasing and name-calling, are a "normal' part of a relationship -- but these behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence.
However, many teens do not report unhealthy behaviors because they are afraid to tell family and friends.
TDV is common. It affects millions of teens in the U.S. each year. Data from the U.S. Center of Disease Control's Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicate that:
Nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year.
- About 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year.
- 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18.
- The burden of TDV is not shared equally across all groups -- minority groups are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence and some racial/ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by many types of violence.
Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have severe consequences and short- and long-term negative effects on a developing teen. For example, youth who are victims of TDV are more likely to:
- Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Engage in unhealthy behaviors like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol
- Exhibit antisocial behaviors like lying, theft, bullying, or hitting
- Think about suicide
Violence in an adolescent relationship sets the stage for problems in future relationships, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence perpetration and/or victimization throughout life. For instance, youth who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.
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If your dating partner is exhibits signs of power and control over you, contact an Artemis House Advocate at 605 642 7825, or 800 999-2348.