Dating violence refers to abuse or mistreatment that occurs between “dating partners”, that is individuals who are involved in, or may be moving towards, an intimate relationship. Dating violence may be experienced at any stage of life. It can occur in either heterosexual or same-sex relationships. It may take place at any point in the dating process, when two people first meet or become interested in one another, on their first date, during their courtship, once they have been involved with each other for some time, or even after the relationship has ended. Dating violence may be a single act of violence, or it may be a pattern of abusive behavior and mistreatment that is repeated, and often escalates over time.
Dating violence can take on the forms of physical, verbal, sexual, emotional/psychological, spiritual or financial abuse.
Teen dating violence is a huge issue. It's important to be familiar with the basics and know some facts if you want to talk about the issue with friends.
Some facts on Youth Violence:
- The highest risk group for sexual assault are young women from 14 to 18 years old.
- The average age for men who date rape is 18.5 years old.
- Young single women are at the greatest risk to be victims of dating violence.
- Adolescent wives (ages 15-19) are murdered 3 times more frequently than adult wives.
- In adolescence, up to 60% of relationships are abusive.
- Dating violence in adolescent relationships is more likely to be mutual than in adult relationships. However, females tend to receive more serious injuries than males.
- To be injured by a husband or boyfriend is the leading cause of injury for women in Canada.
Healthy ways of coping:
- Leave for a while or for good.
- Call the police.
- Lay a charge.
- Hold the abuser responsible for the abuse, not yourself.
- Tell a friend.
- Seek help.
- >Get yourself to a shelter or into counselling.
Unhealthy ways of coping:
- Drinking/drugging to escape the pain.
- Withdrawing into yourself.
- Covering up the abuse and pretending it never happened.
- Making excuses for your partner's behaviour.
- Blaming yourself for the abuse.
- Taking your anger out on people who are important to you, or on your children.
- Attempting suicide combined with lowered self-esteem allows the violence to continue.