As a dual agency, SafeHouse provides services covering sexual and domestic violence for individuals over the age of 14. We do our best to continually spread awareness about both areas, but unless our prevention educator is in the schools, you might not hear much about teen dating violence. Teen dating violence is not experienced as often as domestic violence but the experience itself is the same for the victims. We recognize that teen dating violence is an important issue and try our best to educate and empower our teenagers about its dangers.
Teen Dating Violence (TDV) is defined as a pattern of behavior that includes physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse used by one person in an intimate relationship to exert power and control over another. TDV is generally defined as occurring among individuals between the ages of 13-19 years old. Similar to intimate partner violence among adults, TDV occurs among any race, religion, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation. For those of you who are familiar with the Domestic Violence definition, it is almost the exactly the same, only differing in the age, highlighting the severity of TDV that our teenagers are experiencing.
Research also shows that 1 in 3 high school students will experience teen dating violence. This means that for a high school of 1,500 students, 500 have been either physically, sexually, mentally, or verbally abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend. 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped, or physically harmed by their dating partner. 80% of girls who have been physically harmed by the dating partner stays in the relationship. 50% of all adolescents who have been raped, sexually or physically abused with attempt suicide. Lastly, only 1 out of 3 victims of teen dating violence ever tell someone what happened. This could be the person that they go on seemingly innocent movie dates with, that they study together with, and who joins in for family fun nights.
Despite the prevalence of TDV, research shows that 81% of parents don’t believe it is an issue. We encourage you to check in on your teenagers, be willing to ask the hard questions and have uncomfortable conversations, and educate them on the dangers of teen dating violence. If you would like to receive trainings on how to help or healthy relationships please email firstname.lastname@example.org or if you or someone you know is experiencing teen dating violence please call our 24/7 crisis line at (205) 669-7233 (SAFE)