Teen dating violence is a pressing problem that can have a significant impact on a teen’s emotional and physical well-being. Although frequently under-reported, 10% of teens are physically harmed by their partner in a given year. More awareness on this issue is being raised as organizations and individuals nationwide are coming together to educate young people about dating violence and to promote healthy relationship skills in order to prevent teen dating violence. Break the Cycle is an organization that is putting forth efforts to do so. The tools they provide and events they organize help reach many young people, including those that are personally affected or those that know someone who is being mistreated in an abusive relationship. Breaking the cycle of teen dating abuse is hard, but we should continue to increase awareness on this issue and expose the harmful effects of teen dating violence.
Roughly 1.5 million high school boys and girls in the U.S. admitted to being intentionally hit or physically
harmed in the past year by someone they were romantically involved with.Dating abuse is an epidemic that is growing every day and leaves lasting effects on the victim. Half of youth across the country who
have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys. Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and further domestic violence. Harmful situations lead to lasting effects upon the abused victim. Work to raise awareness on teen dating violence is bringing people and teens together to fight this growing problem
across the nation.
If you do not personally experience dating violence, then you very likely may be familiar with a teen relationship in which violence does occur. During my freshman year of high school, one of my own best friends started dating a junior. He was charming and kind to her, making her feel liked for the first time. She quickly fell in love and spent every moment with him she could. He was one of those “bad boys” that did not deserve an amazing girl like her. Soon she began telling us that he loved her so much that he made her unfollow all boys on her social media accounts. She saw this as a sign of affection, because that would mean he did not want to share her with anyone else or for her to want to be with anyone else. All of my friends found this odd, but we did not speak up. He was verbally abusive to her and never allowed her to spend time away from him. He made plans for her and she had no freedom. She began being pressured by him to have sex when she knew she was not ready, which she gave in to. After months of enduring his abuse, pressure, and control, she finally broke up with him and never went back. He continues to chase after her to this day, but she will never put herself in that situation ever again. Relationships like this are very common among teens all across the country. Organizations and people all over the country, like Break the Cycle, work to not only raise awareness of this issue, but empower youth to work and prevent such relationships and help others they know who are in abusive relationships.
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. Take a stand against dating violence amongst teens. Use Break the Cycle’s website to navigate through campaigns and events you can bring to your own community. Do not be like me and my friends, where we just let the abuse happen, but prevent a tragic end. Love is something we all want, need, and strive for, but abuse should never come along with it. Teen dating violence is a secretive topic and rarely openly discussed, but I urge you to shed light on the subject in your schools, with your friends, and around your communities.