Teen Dating Violence

Red flags that may show that your friend may be experiencing abuse in her/his relationship:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Boyfriend/girlfriend hurting self, others or pets
  • Change in appearance or behavior
  • Apologizing for boyfriend's/girlfriend's behavior
  • Spending all their time with their boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Boyfriend/girlfriend constantly checks up on the teen
  • Name-calling, demeaning comments from boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Giving up interests such as friends, school sports or other extra-curricular activities
  • Technology can be used by individuals to control their boyfriend's/girlfriend's actions by cell phones and spreading rumors through social networking websites.  It is important to be aware of the teen's possible changes in use of computers, cell phones, etc.

Teen violence can happen over time.  The behaviors may include:

  • Emotional Abuse - Embarrassing the person in front of others, calling a person names
  • Physical Abuse - Physically hurting someone, preventing a person from leaving a location
  • Sexual Abuse - Forcing someone to have sex, not allowing someone to use birth control
  • Limiting Independence - Telling someone what to do, giving a person rules to follow
  • Isolation - Not allowing someone to see their friends
  • Threats - Threatening to leave someone or hurt them
  • Intimidation - Making a person afraid with a look
  • Harassment - Texting someone frequently, spying
  • Minimization, Denial, and Blame - Telling a person that their fears are all in their head

If you think a friend is in an unhealthy relationship or is being abused, you may want to talk with them to find out for certain.  Here are some things you can do in order to help your friend during this tough time:

  • Offer support and just listen
  • Help her or him develop a plan to keep them safe
  • Encourage them to do activities with friends and family
  • Tell her or him that you are afraid for their safety
  • Say supportive things, such as, "I care about you", "You are not alone", "I'm glad you told me", "How can I/we help you to feel more safe", and "It is not your fault that this happened to you".