One in three teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been physically hurt by their dating partner. Lani Ramos, a crisis counselor in the domestic violence division of the Metro Nashville Police Department, joined us on a recent episode of Community Health Matters to discuss the warning signs of teen dating violence and how you can help a teen in a dangerous relationship. View her segment here.
In the U.S., one in four women and one in 10 men will experience domestic abuse before the age of 18. There are many causes for this epidemic, but Ramos believes that teen domestic violence is largely due to the inexperience, volatile emotions and lack of conflict management skills of young people.
If a teen in your life is experiencing an abusive relationship, the warning signs can manifest themselves physically and emotionally. Abused teens may isolate themselves or frequently allow their partner to make decisions for them. Also, they may have visible bruises on their body or other signs of trauma.
Teen dating violence can be hard to identify and often goes unreported. Some warning signs include:
- Embarrassing their partner with bad names and put downs
- Controlling what they do and who they see
- Calling or texting their partner constantly
- Taking their money or making them ask for money
- Telling them they’re a bad person
- Destroying their property
- Shoving, slapping or hitting their partner
And, teen dating violence is not only destructive at the time of abuse, but there are also many long-lasting effects. It increases the likelihood of:
- Abusing alcohol and/or drugs
- Developing an eating disorder
- Losing self-confidence
- Declining of relationships with family or friends
- Considering or attempting suicide
- Engaging in risky sexual behavior and/or becoming pregnant
If you suspect a teen in your life is in danger, Love Is Respect offers trained peer advocates to support teens and young adults 24/7 by phone, text or online chat. All conversations are free and confidential. Learn more or chat online at LoveIsRespect.org, call 866-441-9479, or text “loveis” to 22522.