What is Teen Dating Violence?
Did you know that 1 in 10 high school students have been purposefully hurt by their significant other? February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. Teen Dating Violence is defined as “the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner. Several different words are used to describe teen dating violence.” This is seen almost everywhere and has many long-term and short-term effects on everybody involved, and many teens do not tell family and friends due to being afraid. A 2017 CDC report found that 7%of women and 4% of men had experienced some kind of sexual or physical abuse before they turned 18.
Why does this happen?
There is no explanation of why teen violence happens. The main causes of this are anger and misunderstanding. However, there are many risk factors that can contribute to teen violence.
- Believe that dating violence is acceptable
- Are depressed, anxious, or have other symptoms of trauma
- Display aggression towards peers or display other aggressive behaviors
- Use drugs or illegal substances
- Engage in early sexual activity and have multiple sexual partners
- Have conflicts with a partner
- Witness or experience violence in the home
What are the consequences?
As teens grow, many things can affect the way their brain develops. This includes traumas, relationships, and past experiences. An unhealthy and potentially abusive relationship can heavily damage the developmental process. Some of the effects of teen dating violence include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Engagement in unhealthy behaviors, such as tobacco, drug use, and alcohol
- Antisocial behaviors
- Thoughts about suicide
How can it be prevented?
The main goal to prevent teen dating violence is to stop it before it happens. There are many prevention programs that can help educate young adults and children about the dangers of teen dating violence. You can view some of these programs here.