How To Stop Teen Dating Violence Before It Even Starts

Ally McMillan

When you are in love, it can be hard to tell if you are in an abusive relationship. For a teenager, it tends to be harder to see the signs of a toxic environment.

Teen dating violence, a pattern of abusive behaviors perpetrated by a current or former dating partner, is a reality for 1.5 million high schoolers in the United States. The abusers are manipulative and controlling of the other person through behaviors such as intimidation and even severe sexual or physical abuse. The first signs of abuse can be put-downs, yelling or threats used to bring down the victim’s self-esteem. The abuse usually escalates as the teen gets older – making it essential to get help when you first see signs of these toxic behaviors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you are more likely to be a victim if you are exposed to violence at home. Early sexual activity, substance abuse and having a friend involved in dating violence also puts you more at risk.

The ultimate way to prevent abuse from happening is stopping it before it happens. Promoting healthy relationships during pre-teen years is essential. It is also important to speak up if you see the signs of abuse. If you or someone you know is a victim, tell someone you trust or call the National Dating Abuse Hotline at 1-866-331-9474.

“Violence Prevention.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Feb. 2018, www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html.