It seems that every time we turn on the news or read the paper, another community is dealing with the difficult reality of teen dating violence and bullying.
There is hazing on sports teams, a domestic violence homicide, a suicide attributed to bullying.
Teens experiencing abuse are usually silent about their experience.
Often, teens blame themselves or normalize abusive behaviors as typical.
The controlling behaviors, such as demanding passwords to email accounts, constant texting and phone calls can initially be viewed as signs that their partner is taking an interest in their lives and showing how much they care.
However, these behaviors are warning signs that a relationship is controlling and could ultimately become physically dangerous. Victims are at increased risk for depression and suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse, and self-injury.
As teen victims become isolated from family and friends, they may begin to lose their trust in others and have lowered self-esteem.
Most teens experiencing dating violence remain silent about the issue.According to the Liz Claiborne Institute, over 60% of parents reported that dating violence is not an issue in their teen’s life.According the latest Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior survey, 1 in 5 high school students reported being the victim of bullying, and 1 in 10 reported being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.Worse, approximately 2 in 3 teens report knowing friends or peers who have been physically, sexually or verbally abused by their dating partners but only 3% of teens in abusive relationships report the abuse to authority figures and 6% tell family members.While statistics focus on physical and sexual violence in relationships, dating abuse is not always physical.Abuse is a pattern of power and control, and in teen relationships emotional abuse is often prevalent.