In today’s digital age, it isn’t easy to manage teenagers.
They’ve got access to a lot of information and a plethora of dating apps. Who they meet, with whom they’re chatting and with whom they’re sharing sensitive information becomes hard for anyone to check.
As per reports on teen dating violence statistics, 26% of females and 15% of males have experienced dating violence before the age of 18.
It is alarming and can only be controlled when we give a safe space for teenagers to come forward and share their horrifying experiences
without judging them. Let’s understand what is dating violence and some warning signs of it.
What is dating violence?
Dating violence, as the name suggests, happens between two intimate partners.
They are dating and spending some personal time together.
This is when one of the partners starts to abuse the other partner.
This could be in the form of physical violence, like hurting them or beating them, sexual violence, like getting involved in sexual activity forcefully or without the consent of the partner.
There is also psychological violence such as using non-verbal or verbal communication to hurt the partner mentally or emotionally, and lastly stalking them and reaching out to their network, creating a form of fear within them.
For any teenager, when they’re not strong enough to deal
with such sudden behavior of an individual, managing or facing these gets hard.
They often sulk into depression, suppress their feelings and either stay with the abuser or decide to end their life. The only way to avoid such an extreme situation is by being watchful of your partner’s actions and words.
If you walk out of the relationship on time, you’re saved; otherwise, leaving them might be difficult.
5 types of dating violence
We must first understand that warning signs of dating violence may not be obvious.
Therefore, we need to know about the different warning signs of domestic violence and dating abuse.
Knowing domestic violence will help us see through pretensions and masks. If you feel you’re experiencing dating violence, then this information will help.
1. Physical abuse
One of the most common signs of dating violence is physical abuse. As the name suggests, this involves physical harm, such as slapping, punching, shoving, pinching, biting, pulling hair, kicking, and even grabbing.
Physical abuse also covers when a person refuses to seek medical care for a sick or harmed partner.
Also, if a person forces the other to take drugs, alcohol, or any other illegal substance, that’s already physical abuse.
Dating violence is often covered up or denied because of the love that one has for one’s partner. Also, people could be naive and unaware of what constitutes dating violence. So, here are some key markers of dating violence:
Everyone is a free bird and has the right to live life without much of others’ intervention.
While growing up, no teenager would always accept their parents’ watchfulness. The same rule should not apply to your partner. Your partner shouldn’t tell you what and what not to do. They can be protective but not possessive over you.
They’ve to give space to your privacy and shouldn’t restrict your movement. If you sense that your partner is getting overly protective of you, be alert. This might gradually become possessiveness and your life might turn into hell.
Everyone goes through this and there isn’t anything to be worried about. However, some people get extremely abusive to their partners for no good reason. They behave rudely; they lose their temper quite easily and won’t think twice before bursting out in anger in public.
Such behaviors are signs that you’re into dating violence.
The sooner you leave the person, the better for you.
3. Getting sexual without consent
When you’re dating, there will be some intimate moments between the two of you. The ground of sexual activity is that it is done with someone’s consent. No one can force you to have sex with them under any circumstances; if you find it happening, this is violence.
Often, during the teenage years, our body goes through many changes.
The urge to have sex sometimes may prevail over senses, but this shouldn’t be an excuse for anyone to fall over you or force you to get involved in sexual activity. If your partner is trying to do that, speak with your parents.
You have the right to live with dignity and having sex without consent is an outcome of dating violence.
4. Blaming you for everything bad
As mentioned, every relationship hits a rough patch at least once in its lifetime.
However, during such times, coping with reality might get difficult, but blaming one another isn’t the solution.
If you’re a soft person and are taking the blame for everything bad in the relationship, you’re suffering from dating violence. Dating involves two individuals, and both are equally to blame.
So, don’t let your partner make you the soft target for anything wrong.
When in a relationship or even while dating, no one has the right to make threats of any kind.
However, it’s been observed that some individuals threaten their partner like they’ll destroy their life, would not let them have a peaceful life if they leave them, etc. Such threats are unacceptable and one is not obliged to be in such a relationship.
6. Isolation from your family and friends
One of the warning signs of abuse is when you’re dating, but you slowly notice that your partner is trying to isolate you.
At first, this person tries to distance you from your friends. You can no longer see them or hang out with them.
Then you might notice that your partner will intercept any plans of seeing your family.
You might realize that one day, you’ve been isolated from the people who would help you escape your abuser.
Why would someone do this? As mentioned above, these people can help you and this person wants them out of your life to fully take control.
Teen dating violence or even if you’re already living together, there’s no excuse for abuse. Remember that.
It may start when your partner stalks your social media accounts and would suddenly read your messages. This may be an act of trust and love for some, but is it?
Try to do the same to your partner and you’ll hear harsh words and even insults, but when it comes to your social media accounts, this person demands transparency.
If you find this unfair, then you are right. It’s because your partner is already showing dating violence, which is one sign to watch out for.
8. Verbal and emotional abuse
We don’t have to be experts to know that verbal and emotional abuse are destructive behaviors. They are abusive and will significantly affect a person’s mental and emotional health.
Sadly, we don’t know what’s happening when it’s just you and your partner.
These are all signs of emotional and verbal abuse, from feeding your hurtful words to depriving you of attention and pretending you don’t exist.
Unfortunately, these warning signs of abuse often remain unheard of, with no one speaking out.
9. Invades your privacy
When you take up relationship counseling, you’ll learn many valuable and healthy relationship traits. One of which is when you should respect your partner’s privacy.
What if you’re dating an abuser? What happens then?
This person would come barging into your home, grab your stuff, reply to your messages and emails, and cancel your trips or schedules.
What does this show us? It’s clear that this person has no respect for you.
10. Physically hurts you
Now, these are the most obvious domestic violence warning signs to watch out for. If your partner, may it be for a week, day, or years, when your partner hurts you physically, then that’s already dating abuse.
Sadly, some people would even stay in the relationship thinking it’s just a one-time thing, an accident, or their loved one would still change.
Unfortunately, that will not happen. An abuser will always have this tendency.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a slap, a push, a punch, or throwing an appliance at you; abuse is abuse.
How to deal with dating violence
If you can relate to all these signs of violence, you are experiencing it.
Don’t think it is just coincidence or that it was your fault that triggered your partner’s abusive behavior. This has got to stop; of course, you might want to know where to start.
Here are five ways to understand how you can deal with abusive dating.
1. Ask for help
Don’t keep this to yourself. Your partner is already preventing you from reaching out before it gets out of hand. Ask for help.
Call the people you trust, and tell them what’s happening behind closed doors.
If you’re studying, go to your teacher or mentor. You can also reach out to your parents or friends.
This is where asking for help works wonders. Ask the people you trust for their recommendation and see a licensed therapist.
Open up and allow the therapist to assist you in overcoming your challenges and hurt.
5. Call NDVH
There are different dating abuses, and sometimes, your life and safety may be at stake.
In these situations, please don’t hesitate to call the attention of your guardian, teacher, principal or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).
Remember that abuse should never be tolerated, and no one has the right to abuse you.
Dating abuse is more common than we think, but sadly, lack of information makes it harder for the victims to seek help and move on.
Commonly asked question
What is an example of dating violence?
Mark and Jane have been dating for a while. Mark seems possessive, but Jane takes this as a sign of love. But whenever Mark cannot get what he wants, he throws things at Jane and belittles her.
Most of us think that dating is always fun. After all, we’re expected to put our best foot forward, right?
However, dating violence is also real. It’s when the abuser shows their true color in the dating phase of their relationship.
At first, it could start subtly, but gradually, the violence increases until the victim can no longer escape the traumatic relationship.
Dating abuse can include pushing, spitting, punching, pulling your hair, forcing sexual acts, belittling, and even rape.
Jeff Gunther is a licensed professional counselor who talks about some things you should NOT do when you start dating.
Dating violence can be easily avoided if we know our partner’s actions and intentions. The pointers mentioned above suggest a few basic and quick observations that can save you from an abusive and violent partner.
With the lack of understanding and knowledge, more and more people fall prey to these abusers. Soon, they’d realize that they have fallen deep into the abyss of abuse and can’t even muster the courage to escape.
Once you see warning signs of dating violence, please take this as your first sign to leave this relationship. Stop dating someone who is not good for you. Remember that you don’t deserve to be treated like this.
If you or your friend is going through this, the suggestion would be to end it immediately. If you’re witnessing the trouble thereon or feel scared, speak to an adult you trust; it could be your parents, siblings or even your teachers.
No one should go through dating violence as it breaks them and scars them for life.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.