Dating Violence & Today's Teens

Curriculum Review, December 2012 | Go to article overview

Dating Violence & Today's Teens


For many young men and women in the United States, dating violence is an unexpected and serious danger. As far as teens go, the National Institute of Justice reports:

* 1 in 10 teens has experienced physical abuse in intimate relationships

* Between 2 and 3 in 10 teens say they have been victims of mental or verbal abuse from a partner

* 1 in 3 teens claim a peer or friend has been physically abused by a romantic partner

As educators, you know that guidance, dialogue and comprehensive education are paramount to keeping your students safe from dating violence. Starting and continuing an open conversation about dating violence in your school community can be vital to the health and safety of teens in your district. Consider the following information to begin an exchange with students, either in one-on-one conversations or when addressing the student body at large.

Tools You Can Use

Consider referring to the following information when discussing domestic abuse and dating violence with teens. You might ask students to weigh in on the info shown here, or share their thoughts on abuse and why it happens so frequently among their peers.

* According to the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV), teens, especially young women, are more likely to hide their abusive relationships than tell someone who can help. Most commonly, this is because:

* Teens are relatively inexperienced in relationships

* Teens receive pressure from peers and encouragement from certain media to behave violently

* Teens seek independence from their parents and are less likely to ask them for advice or help

* Teens tend to romanticize their relationships

* It is difficult--but not impossible--to identify a person who may become physically abusive to a partner. Common warning signs include:

* Extreme jealousy and controlling behavior

* Unpredictable mood swings, including explosive anger, forceful behavior or rage

* Alcohol and other drug use

* Verbal abuse, including threats of physical violence

* These signs may be indicators that a teen is being abused:

* Physical signs of injury, such a bruises or obvious methods to conceal them

* Sudden changes in mood, personality, behavior and activity

* Indecision, isolation and extreme emotional outbursts

* Use of alcohol and other drugs

* Dating violence can have serious consequences on the health and long-term well-being of a victim. …

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