According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adolescents report verbal, emotional, physical or sexual dating violence each year. Victims of dating violence are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide and engage in risky behaviors like using drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Family HealthCare Associates feels it is important to take a moment during “Teenage Dating Violence Awareness Month” to highlight the importance of this conversation with our adolescents.

Consider these statistics:

  •  In America, more than 4,000 teens are victims of dating violence every day
  •  Kids (12 to 19) experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault
  •  43% of college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behaviors

Unhealthy, or abusive relationships can take many forms. Dating abuse is a pattern of coercive, intimidating, or manipulative behaviors.

Watch Out for these Abuser Reg Flags

  •  Excessive jealousy or insecurity
  •  Checking your email, phone or social media without your permission
  •  Has unexpected bouts of rage or moodiness
  •  Pressures you or forcing you to have sex
  •  Blames you for problems in the relationship
  •  Controls your every move or constantly monitors your whereabouts
  •  Isolating you from your friends and family
  •  Falsely accuses you of things
  •  Ruins your personal property
  •  Taunts or bullies
  •  Any form of physical violence

If your partner exhibits any of these behaviors, or has physically harmed you in any way, trust your feelings. If you’re afraid of confronting your partner, and are not sure if you should get out of the relationship, don’t stay silent.

Here are 5 steps you can take if you think you are in an abusive relationship.

1. Get away from your abuser
2. Reach out to a trusted friend, parent, teacher, or mentor
3. Seek the guidance of a school counselor or therapist
4. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline  at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

Some teens (or parents) may justify abusive behaviors (especially in young men) by saying, “It’s just a stage. They will grow out of it.” But studies have found that abusive behaviors in unhealthy relationships are more likely to increase over time.

How can I help my Teen:
1. Have conversations about healthy relationships (key elements of respect,
communication, trust, boundaries, honesty and equality) and sex
2. Be prepared to be uncomfortable
3. Talk to both daughters and sons about consent
4. Listen and give support
5. Your teen must be the one to end the relationship, help them develop a safety plan

At Family HealthCare Associates, we are here to help support your teen in the challenges that they face. Please reach out to any of our physicians for support if you or your teen has encountered domestic violence.