What is Teen Dating Violence?

Teen Dating Violence, or Relationship Abuse, is a pattern of behaviors and tactics that someone uses against a partner to obtain power and control.
Types of Dating Abuse
Physical Abuse

Involves intentional, unwanted contact to your body with the intent to cause injury, disability, or death. This can be slapping, shoving, kicking, pinching, punching, etc.

Emotional/Verbal Abuse
Is a form of non-physical abuse, subjecting you to behaviors that cause a diminished sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth. This can include threats, insults, intimidation, stalking, and isolation.
Sexual Abuse

Being forced to take part in any sexual activity when you do not want to or being exposed against your will to sexually explicit material.

Digital/Technological Abuse
The use of technologies such as social media and texting to harass, stalk, bully, or intimate you. This is often considered verbal or emotional abuse online. It can include constant texting, calling, emailing, and social media messaging to either threaten, check up on you, or track your location. Other examples include sending unwanted, explicit pictures and/or demands for you to send pictures, checking your phone, or demanding to know your passwords for social media platforms.

Constantly watching, harassing, or following you, making you feel unsafe or afraid.

The Relationship Spectrum

All relationships fall somewhere on The Relationship Spectrum. Knowing where your relationships falls on the spectrum is crucial to preventing dating violence.

For more information on The Relationship Spectrum, click here

Power and Control
Relationship violence is a combination of different abusive tactics that are used to maintain power and control. Power may include coercion, force, and abuse. Control includes isolation, threats, and manipulation. The center of the circle describes different sets of behaviors that an abusive partner uses to maintain this power and control.
Red Flags for an Unhealthy Relationship
  • Your relationship moves too quickly. 
  • Your partner does not honor your boundaries. 
  • Your partner wants you all to himself or herself. 
  • Your partner is excessively jealous or accusatory. 
  • Your partner criticizes you or puts you down. 
  • Your partner always needs to know where you are. 
  • Your partner treats you like property rather than a person who has value. 
  • Your partner lashes out at you or blames you for their problems. 
  • Your partner tells you they can’t live without you. 
  • Your partner’s threats and anger are followed by vows of love and pleas for forgiveness. 
  • Your partner breaks things or intimidates you. 
  • Your partner makes you afraid to express your thoughts or feelings. 
  • Your weight, appearance, or grades have changed dramatically since you started seeing this person. 
  • Your partner constantly threatens to break up with you. 
  • Your partner has hit, pushed, chocked, restrained, kicked, or physically hurt you.
Common Signs of Abusive Behavior
  • Telling you that you never do anything right.
  • Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or of any time you don’t spend with your partner.
  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.
  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.
  • Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.
  • Destroying your belongings or your home.
1.5 Million Teens
1.5 million teens in the U.S. have experienced teen dating violence.
1 in 5 Teens
1 in 5 teens has experienced a violent dating situation.
1 in 4 Teens
1 in 4 teens in same sex relationships reported experiencing some type of dating violence.
Previous slide
Next slide