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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month February 2018

The National Domestic Violence Hotline – Saving One Life at a Time

24hours a day/7 days a week

CALL 1-800-799-7233
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Spanish councelors available.
Go to the web site for live chat, too.

Break the Cycle

These stats and facts will blow you away! Get in the “know” and be a part of breaking the cycle of abuse.

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average.
  • Among female victims of intimate partner violence, 94% of those age 16-19 and 70% of those age 20-24 were victimized by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18.
  • The severity of intimate partner violence is often greater in cases where the pattern of abuse was established in adolescence.
  • Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.
  • College students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse – 57% say it is difficult to identify and 58% say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it.
  • One in three (36%) dating college students has given a dating partner their computer, online access, email or social network passwords and these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse.
  • One in six (16%) college women have been sexually abused in a dating relationship.
  • Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
  • Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a STI.
  • Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.
  • Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.
  • Eighty-one (81) percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.
  • Though 82% of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse.

Warning signs of abuse:

  1. Extreme Mood Swings. When a teen experiences extreme and erratic mood swings it can be a sign of abuse. The abuser may have trouble controlling his/her temper. The victim of abuse may not know how to process the realities of the abuse. Fluctuations in mood are normal during the teenage years. However, extreme changes in mood may indicate that there is a more serious problem. If a teen is screaming and yelling one moment and quiet and remote the next, it may be a sign of dating violence.
  2. Isolation. Does one teen try to keep his/her partner away from other people? Is a teen withdrawn and antisocial for no apparent reason? Possessiveness and controlling behavior can be a sign of an abusive relationship. Again, both the abuser and the victim of abuse can show signs of isolation. Teens who are involved in healthy relationships may want to spend more time alone. However, this time should not be forced. Teens should achieve a healthy balance between time spent alone and time spent with friends and family. If there is an imbalance, it may be a sign of dating violence.
  3. Physical Harm. Unexplained physical injuries are often a red flag in abusive relationships. An abuser may have scraped knuckles or show signs of defensive wounds. A victim of abuse may try to hide a black eye or other bruises by wearing a lot of makeup or baggy clothes. If a teen continually sustains injuries and cannot offer a good explanation about where they came from, it may be a sign of an abusive relationship.
  4. Bad Grades. School performance is often one of the first things to suffer when teens are involved in an abusive relationship. Rather than pay attention in school and focus on grades, teens may be caught up in the drama of their own relationships. Dealing with abuse can make it difficult to focus on the tasks in front of them. When grades suffer for no apparent reason, it may be a sign of an abusive relationship.
  5. Sexual Activity. Sex can be a normal part of a healthy teenage relationship. However, each relationship is different and, many times, teens are not mature enough to have sex. Sex can be used as a form of control. Abusers may want to have sex to boast to their social peers. Victims may feel that they have no choice but to allow sexual advances. When sex is a part of a teenage relationship it is important to make sure that both teens are on the same page. When teens are having sex because they want control or fear the consequences of saying no, it may be a sign of an abusive relationship.

Teens who are involved in abusive relationships are more likely to be involved in abusive relationships as adults . Early intervention is the best way to prevent this vicious cycle from happening.

Make sure you talk to your kids about teen dating violence. If they are the victims, there is help. If they are the abuser, make sure they understand the serious criminal consequences
that can occur as a result.

Statistics say that (1) one teen in every 10 relationships are abusive. Help break the silence, stigma and the shame of dating abuse and violence.

Criminal Consequences for Teens

Here’s a list of the possible criminal charges that could result in a violent relationship between teens.

  1. Domestic battery – occurs when one teenager commits harmful or offensive contact against a former or current dating partner. These charges of domestic battery don’t require that the teenager is injured. Instead, the contact must be (1) purposeful and unlawful, and (2) forceful and unwanted.
  2. Domestic violence – legally known as “bodily injury to a spouse or cohabitant” – occurs when one teenager purposefully causes a dating partner to sustain a bodily injury. So, the basic difference between domestic battery charges and domestic violence charges is when one causes bodily injury to the other.
  3. Sexual assault – occurs when a teenager engages in the unwanted touching of a dating partner’s intimate parts. Intimate parts include the “sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks.”
  4. Rape – occurs when a teenager engages in unwanted or forceful sexual intercourse with a dating partner.
  5. Child abuse – may occur when a teenager purposefully or accidentally causes the injury of a dating partner under the age of 18. Certain individuals (including teachers, doctors, and clergy) who witness what they believe to be child abuse must report their observations to law enforcement. Behavior that may be properly defined as child abuse is sometimes different than that which may be defined as abuse for domestic violence purposes.
  6. Criminal Threats – may occur when a teenager threatens to kill or harm a dating partner. A teenager may be convicted of criminal threats if (1) the threat placed the victim in reasonable fear of his or her safety; (2) the threat was specific; and (3) the threat was communicated in writing, verbally, or electronically. So, if a teenager hears a rumor about his or her partner and responds by sending texts with the message “You’re not going to be able to show your face for a while” with a “fist” emoji, they may be guilty of criminal threats.

The Grown-Up Picture: Domestic Abuse Stats & Facts

  1. ABUSE:
    1. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, and during one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
    2. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
    3. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
    4. On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
    5. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
    6. Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
    7. Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
    8. 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.
    9. Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
    10. Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.
  2. RAPE:
    1. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime.
    2. Almost half of female (46.7%) and male (44.9%) victims of rape in the United States were raped by an acquaintance. Of these, 45.4% of female rape victims and 29% of male rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.
    1. 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
    2. 19.3 million women and 5.1 million men in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime.
    3. 60.8% of female stalking victims and 43.5% men reported being stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
    1. A study of intimate partner homicides found that 20% of victims were not the intimate partners themselves, but family members, friends, neighbors, persons who intervened, law enforcement responders, or bystanders.
    2. 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female.
    1. 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
    2. Children involved in domestic abuse are more likely to become abused or abusers themselves.
    1. Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8.0 million days of paid work each year.
    2. The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $8.3 billion per year.
    3. Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.
    4. Between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace by their abuser, 78% of women killed in the workplace during this timeframe.
    1. Women abused by their intimate partners are more vulnerable to contracting HIV or other STI’s due to forced intercourse or prolonged exposure to stress.
    2. Studies suggest that there is a relationship between intimate partner violence and depression and suicidal behavior.
    3. Physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health effects have been linked with intimate partner violence including adolescent pregnancy, unintended pregnancy in general, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine hemorrhage, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

Links of Interest

Here is a link to Nebraska stats for Domestic violence and abuse.

Find more on domestic abuse and dating violence statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and also find links to other resources here.

Lily&Q’s say…Many people living with HIV have had a past which often included cycles of drug addiction, dating or domestic violence, even using sex or drugs to merely survive.
I bet most of us wouldn’t even be able to identify the fine lines of what is and isn’t abusive behavior from our partners. One thing the “Me Too” movement can do is begin being more vocal and educate about what constitutes abuse, violence, rape, consent, NO!, and so on. We’re just beginning this fight.
My Mom and I now talk with more understanding of the one guy (How lucky was I to only have one!) in my past which my Mom was sure was abusive to me. I vividly remember the moment it was finally crystal clear to me what I was going to have to do to finally get away from him-Once and for all. I was crazy scared of him at the end. Finally, I saw him as the condescending jerk he was and realized how close to being physically hurt I actually got.
Whew dodged that bullet…And maybe a literal one, given the gun and homicide stats, too!
I can see why my Mom was nervous. She didn’t want to push me too hard, so I’d instead run to him with the direct purpose of thumbing my nose at her, but she didn’t want to not say anything to me either because she did have a voice in my head…More than she ever thought she did! And I’m glad I ultimately heeded her words.
I wanted to believe he wasn’t the jerk she was pointing out to me, but she was right it just took me a “hot minute” to see it.
If anyone asks you to: not see or talk to people from your life including family or friends, they dictate what you should wear while you’re with them, or speak or not speak in a certain way when you are in their presence…If you see, hear, notice anything else that resembles control of you in any way…Run, run away fast.
I was lucky enough to never be struck or hurt physically but the one time it came close I screamed, “Do what you got to do, but you’d better knock me out because if you don’t I will tear your balls off with my teeth…!”
I was glad it stopped right there. I think he realized he didn’t know me like he thought he did and that unnerved him more than he wanted to admit to and I think for once he actually believe me at my word. Thank God too, because I wasn’t sure how I’d get that “ball-ripping-thing” done the way he had me grabbed up.
In that one terrifying moment I knew he could follow through with whatever snapped into his twisted head and take me out like he kept saying he was gonna do.
I’m no hero. My account is not meant to discount other’s abuse. I am not saying I had it easy, or felt like, “lucky me”, in any way. I can only suppport those with stories that don’t end like mine did.
I do in fact hold in my heart and appreciate the will of my fellow sisters, and brothers who for one reason or another couldn’t just walk away. I pray for you. I pray for your safety and your strength. I pray that there can be another way for you to see the light, and know you deserve to live a happy, healthy life.
I’ll also never stop thinking about that beautiful blonde friend I had 30+ years ago that came into work after a long weekend with two almost matching black eyes and a pump on her forehead, and said she fell. I guess she thought we would believe her, but after the third or fourth time we quit asking her for a lie when her eyes met ours.
Seeing her gorgeous blue eyes red and bloody was horrifying for all of us. We kept her silence though, and now I wonder how long she lived or if she’s even a live anymore.
God forbid any of mine will get caught up in this cycle of abuse.
Find help, get someone to talk to who will help by listening, and find resources that can help you break the cycle…It’s not just you that you help, it’s your children and your children’s children, too.