They Love Me, They Love Me Not: A Look at Teen Dating Violence Signs and Prevention

teen dating violence awareness month logoValentine’s Day, arguably the most romantic holiday of the year, is fast approaching. As you prepare to share this day with your loved ones, take a moment to reflect on what being in a loving healthy relationship means to you. For some people, especially our youth, being in a relationship may be a completely new phenomenon. Join us in educating our youth on healthy relationship building as we increase awareness for intimate partner violence in teen dating and prepare for a future with less violence.

What is Teen Dating Violence?

Teen Dating Violence is a form of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) that occurs between two people in a relationship. IPV is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. According to the Centers for Disease and Control, Teen Dating Violence takes several forms:

  1. Physical Violence: when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
  2. Sexual Violence: forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event (e.g., sexting) when the partner does not or cannot consent.
  3. Psychological/Emotional Abuse: use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or to exert control over another person.
  4. Stalking: a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.

Facts on Teen Dating Violence

  • 1 in 11 female teens and 1 in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year.
  • About 1 in 9 females 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 life first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report, victims of teen dating violence are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol and are at higher risk for victimization during college and throughout their lifetimes.

What Are the Signs of Teen Dating Violence?

A person experiencing IPV may have unexplainable recurrent injuries,  isolate themselves from friends and loved ones, but in most cases, there are no signs that may indicate that someone is experiencing IPV. For this reason, it’s crucial to be aware of the prevalence of domestic abuse. Discuss dating violence with your peers, and learn about ways to help.

How Can You Help a Teen Experiencing Dating Violence?

Talking about intimate partner violence may be the hardest thing a young teen may have to do. If you are experiencing teen dating violence or suspect that someone else is, here are some resources that may help. Remember, you are not alone and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

24/7 National U.S. Hotlines

Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 (or text “loveis” to 22522, any time, 24/7/365)

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Trevor Lifeline (for LGBTQ* youth): 1-866-488-7386

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233

National Hotline for Crime Victims: 1-855-484-2846

National Street Harassment Hotline: 1-855-897-5910

Flyer of February 18 online conversation with Jasmine Uribe from Break the Cycle.Take Action

We need to shift the narrative around dating violence, honor youth voices, build community, and address the intersections of violence. Please join our online conversation with Jasmine Uribe, the Chief Program Officer at Break The Cycle, on Tuesday, February 18, 4 PM PST / 7 PM EST. Together we can end dating violence. Click here to register now!


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