Teen violence in dating
One winter day during my junior year, I found out that he had cheated on me again. He became enraged as I walked away to my class but he didn't follow me. In that moment, I had two choices: I could either sit there and continue to be belittled in front of everyone because he wasn't going to leave, and nobody else was going to say or do anything, or I could walk out and be shamed anyway because I had given into his threats. As we walked down the hall, he spit in my face, pulled my necklace off my neck, threw it in the trashcan and he threw me up against the lockers. Mine is a story of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse.After class had begun, I heard the door swing open, which was at the front of the classroom. He stayed at the door and looked toward the teacher and said to him in front of the whole class, "I need to speak to that fucking whore right there." He pointed at me, then he turned to me and said, "Bitch, get your fucking stupid ass out here now." Everybody turned and looked at me in shock but nobody said a word. It didn't begin immediately, in fact, there weren't any signs until we had been dating for almost a year.Every relationship is different, but the things that unhealthy and abusive relationships have in common are issues of power and control.Violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner.Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family. Youth who experience dating violence are more likely to experience the following: Additionally, youth who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.A 2017 CDC Report [PDF 4.32MB] found that approximately 7% of women and 4% of men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence by that partner before 18 years of age. Communicating with your partner, managing uncomfortable emotions like anger and jealousy, and treating others with respect are a few ways to keep relationships healthy and nonviolent.Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime.Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name-calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship.
It was easier to live with the shame and guilt in secrecy. I never imagined such shame and at 15 years old, understood it even less. It was those incidents that left long-lasting emotional scars. My story begins at the age of 14 and continues off and on until I was 22.The signs weren't obvious, especially to a 14 year-old, but it began with him telling me he didn't like the shirts I wore, or that my skirt was too short; at the time, it was easy to mistake jealousy and control for adoration.The following resources help to equip child welfare professionals with information on how to prevent and respond to teen dating violence.The Date Safe Project Provides schools, students, and parents with educational resources to help address teen dating and sexual assault awareness in the community.