October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the CDC, about 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year. 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18.
You may or may not know when you are entering an abusive relationship, but understand the healthiest decision for you is to back out as soon as something feels wrong. When you know someone who is being abused, know that they may not see the issue and may decline help.
What qualifies as dating violence?
Dating violence occurs between two people in a close relationship and most often centers on one of these behavior types: physical violence, sexual violence, psychological aggression, and stalking.
- Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner using physical force.
- Sexual violence is attempting to force a partner in a sexual act without their consent.
- Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication used to harm another person mentally or emotionally
- Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner
Dating violence can also take place over the phone, whether it’s a situation where someone will not stop unwantedly texting or calling, teasing and name-calling, or someone posting inappropriate pictures without consent. [Source: CDC]
Teens often think some behaviors are normal in a relationship, which is why educating teens about these issues is essential. If left unaware, these behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence.