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Choose Respect: Aims to Prevent Teen Dating Violence

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 14-May-2008

For teens, dating is one of life’s greatest rites of passage.  It’s also a time when many adolescents acquire the interpersonal and social skills that will help them build positive, respectful relationships throughout their adult lives.  Unfortunately, it’s a time when some teens are exposed to abusive relationships and acquire the kinds of unhealthy relationship behaviors that can put them at risk of abuse well into their adult lives. 

To help promote healthy, respectful relationships and guard against the personal injuries that frequently stem from abuse, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains the website ChooseRespect.org — an online resource for teens and parents aimed at preventing teen dating violence.  Following are some teen dating violence statistics:

  • "About one in 11 teens reports being a victim of physical dating abuse each year.
  • About one in four teens reports verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse each year.
  • About one in five teens reports being a victim of emotional abuse.
  • About one in five high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
  • The overall occurrence of dating violence is higher among black (13.9%) than Hispanic (9.3%) or white (7.0%) students.
  • About 72% of students in 8th and 9th grade report "dating."  By the time they are in high school, 54% of students report dating violence among their peers.
  • 1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked, or otherwise physically hurt by his or her partner.
  • " 80% of teens regard verbal abuse as a serious issue for their age group.
  • Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their dating relationships continue to date their abuser.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a break-up.
  • Almost 70% of young women who have been raped knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend, or casual acquaintance.
  • Teen dating abuse most often takes place in the home of one of the partners."

    The website also identifies the following warning signs commonly associated with abusive relationships and abusive partners:

    "Warning signs of an abusive relationship

    • Bruises, scratches, or other injuries
    • Failing grades
    • Dropping out of school activities
    • Avoiding friends and social events
    • Indecision
    • Changes in clothes or make-up
    • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
    • Secrecy
    • Avoiding eye contact
    • Crying spells or hysteria fits
    • Constant thoughts about the dating partner
    • Alcohol or drug use
    • Anxiety and depression
    • Sudden changes in mood or personality
    • Fearfulness around the dating partner or when his or her name is mentioned

    Warning signs of an abusive person

    People who are abusive in dating relationships can be affected in the long run, too:

    • Wants to get serious in the relationship quickly
    • Will not take no for an answer
    • Is jealous and possessive
    • Makes all the decisions
    • Dismisses other people’s opinions and feelings
    • Wants to control a person’s friends and activities
    • Puts constant pressure on someone
    • Demands to know where someone is all the time
    • Uses guilt trips- ‘If you really loved me, you would…’
    • Feels that he or she deserves unconditional love and support
    • Has a history of bad relationships
    • Blames the person for his or her feelings and actions – ‘You asked for it’ or ‘You made me mad’
    • Apologizes for violent behavior and promises not to do it again"

    Previously on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:

    For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-759-6699.

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