In relationship violence, one partner tries to get control over the other through abusive behaviors. The abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, financial, verbal or a situation where a partner stalks the other via texts or social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram). No matter the type, the abusive behavior is repeated and usually escalates over time. Approximately one in three teens has experienced some form of dating violence4. Teens that have experienced dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, binge drink, attempt suicide and physically fight. It is important for teens, especially young women, to develop a dating safety plan, understand that they have choices and deserve respect in any relationship.
Warning signs for relationship violence:
- Checking your cell phone or email without permission
- Constant put-downs
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Financial control
- Isolation from family or friends
- Mood swings
- Actual or threatened physical harm
- Telling you what to do
If you are a teen involved in a violent or abusive relationship, remember that you cannot make your partner change, and in time the abuse will get worse. It is important to take care of yourself and talk to a trusted adult or a domestic violence shelter. The Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh has a 24-hour hotline (412-687-8005) and counselors ready to talk, provide support, and help you determine the next step. You may also benefit from talk therapy to address any depression, anxiety, stress, and personal issues that have arisen as a result of a violent relationship.