Domestic abuse is not limited to age, gender, finances, culture, race or marital status. It can happen to anyone - and it happens all too frequently. February is teen dating violence awareness month, and organizations across the country are raising awareness about teen dating violence, from assault and rape to abusive relationships of all types. Education regarding teen dating violence is integral in preventing a problem that continues to devastate families across the country.
Millions of teens abused every year
As many organizations seek to raise awareness, it is important to know how prevalent teen dating violence is. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1.5 million high school students suffer abuse every year, or as many as one in 10 high school students.
Tragically, many fail to report this abuse. According to the Hotline, about one-third of all victims remain silent. The victims are then more likely to engage in or be subject to other risky behaviors, from substance abuse to attempted suicide.
Considering the scope of the problem, it is vital that teens and their loved ones can recognize signs of abuse.
Recognizing abusive behavior
Teen dating violence encompasses a wide range of behaviors. These include physical abuse and rape, but may also involve:
- Intimidation and/or threats
- Isolation or exclusion from groups, including on social media
- Sexual coercion, including using alcohol or drugs to get sex
- Emotional abuse
- Peer pressure/spreading rumors
For teens experiencing dating violence, there are numerous resources available. From online resources like OneLove to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1−800−799−7233), many experts will help you define abuse, examine whether you are in an abusive relationship and help you create a plan to get away from a bad situation. These resources are also available to concerned friends and loved ones.
If you have legal questions regarding abusive relationships, please contact our family law attorneys for guidance.