The relative explosion in communication technologies over the past decade has created new forums that abusive individuals can use to monitor, control or humiliate their victims.
Dating violence is a pattern of assaultive and controlling behaviors that one person uses against another in order to gain or maintain power and control in the relationship.
The abuser intentionally behaves in ways that cause fear, degradation and humiliation to control the other person.
The barriers that teens facing in ending abusive relationships may be different than those faced by adults, but they are real.
Like in adult relationships, teen relationships are embedded in their broader social networks (school, work, activities, friends) and the victim might face pressure from peers to remain in the relationship.
With these barriers—minimization, limited legal recourse, limited service options, fears, anxiety about reporting requirement, negative social consequences, etc.–it is not surprising that most victims of TDV never tell an adult about their experience.
They have not had a lot of evidence to make them believe that we could help them.
We know that domestic violence typically starts early/young; early prevention efforts and effective interventions provide our best opportunity to get in front of the problem to protect youth and to prevent adult domestic violence.
Similarities between TDV and adult domestic violence include the fact that the relationships are real, potentially dangerous, significant to the victim and perpetrator and difficult to end.
By incorporating conversations about TDV in your work and by listening to what young people have to say about their feelings and experience of abuse, you can create a culture of trust where young people feel that they have something to gain by disclosing their experience.
Incidence and Impact As indicated in the statistics above, both boys and girls experience forms of teen dating violence (TDV); however, it is important to note that girls and boys are differentially impacted by these forms of abuse where girls who are victimized report significantly higher rates of fear and injury than do boys who are victimized.
According to the organization that you work with, you may have particular expectations for the expression, degree and boundaries in relationships between the youth that you serve, but if the kids that you work with feel like you’re simply the relationship police, they may not hear concerns that you have about the health and safety of their relationships.