Teen Dating Violence

February Is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

What is Teen Dating Violence?
TDV is any pattern of abuse or threat of abuse in a teen dating relationship. Violence can be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or digital.


What Does it Look Like?
Unlike adult intimate partner violence, aggression tends to be mutual, but the reasons are different.(1) While both boys and girls are aggressive out of anger, girls use aggressive behavior to defend themselves, while boys use aggression to gain control.

Boys and girls are also affected differently. Girls are more likely to be injured and suffer long-term effects. Boys are more likely to laugh it off.(1)

How Common is TDV?
Each year, about 1.5 million high school students experience physical violence. Of those that report TDV, 76% report emotional violence in the forms of verbal abuse, isolation, or embarrassment.

What Puts Teens at Risk?
Factors that lead to a teen’s vulnerability to dating violence include witnessing or experiencing violence in the home, having a friend involved in TDV, or believing dating violence is okay.(2)

A major risk factor for teens is that dating is a completely new world to them. If they do not have guidance from healthy adults, they tend to flounder alone through new feelings, challenges, and experiences.

The teen brain is going through a rewiring process from back to front. This means the part of the brain involved in emotions and rewards matures before the part that calculates risk, makes plans, and stops inappropriate behavior. The teen brain also has a Personal Fable, an Invisible Audience, and the Myth of Invincibility. What do these mean in dating? Well...

Personal Fable: ”every relationship and breakup in my life is of lasting and global importance” Despite how it sounds, the teen is not being dramatic; it is a part of their brain development.

Invisible Audience: everyone is watching and evaluating me” This makes teens susceptible to peer pressure both good and bad. Violent behavior may be exhibited in front of friends when the teen would not normally behave that way (3).

Myth of Invincibility: ”this behavior or activity is risky, but nothing will happen to me”

How Can I Help the Teens in My Life?

Be a Model: teens not only need to see many examples of healthy relationships, but they may have a fairytale-esque view of relationships. When conflict arises, they may not be prepared, so having models of proper conflict resolution is vital.

Have Conversations: teens need mentors, but they are striving for independence. Casual, matter-of-fact conversations are great places to share advice and guidance.

Help Them Set Boundaries: and the earlier the better! Having boundaries set before a relationship starts is better than attempting to figure out boundaries as you go.

A great place for teens to learn more and receive support is our Hope-Filled Teens Support Groups. New groups, one for boys and one for girls, start March 26th. Learn more: www.doorofhopeministries.org/events. If a teen needs help, feel free to contact Gabby at gabby@doorofhopeministries.org or 763-767-2150.


Written by Gabby Plaep, Door of Hope’s Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator. Gabby can be reached at at gabby@doorofhopeministries.org or 763-767-2150.

1.  Teen Dating Violence: A Closer Look at Adolescent Romantic Relationships, Carrie Mulford Ph. D and Peggy C. Giordano Ph. D., NIJ Journal Issue 261
2.  Understanding Teen Dating Violence Fact Sheet, 2014--National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
3.  NIJ Journal


Did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have experienced sexual and/or physical violence or stalking by a partner, with negative impact.

Prevention is key!

Through our offerings, Door of Hope uses 5 of 6 abuse prevention strategies the CDC recommends below.

Thanks for joining us in this very important work!  

This is a modified CDC graphic. Original graphic at  https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/technical-packages/infographic.html

This is a modified CDC graphic. Original graphic at https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/technical-packages/infographic.html

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month [Free PDF Download]

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Graphic

According to the CDC, every year 1 out of 10 of our nation’s high schoolers experience physical violence from a dating partner.

1 out of 10 every year...

Chances are your teen or a teen you know, has been assaulted sexually or physically, or has committed teen dating violence.

What is Teen Dating Violence?

Teen dating violence includes not only physical and sexual abuse, but also emotional abuse between teenage dating partners.

Although emotional abuse is often dismissed by adults, it often carries the most long-term effects on the well-being of the victim.

Common emotionally abusive tactics include: name-calling, isolating from friends/family, body shaming, stalking, and controlling social media and communication.

What are the Ramifications?

To name just a few...

  • Criminal convictions
  • To cope, victims are more likely to begin self-destructive behaviors like taking drugs, drinking, smoking, doing poorly in school, promiscuous behavior, physical fights, attempting suicide
  • Teen dating violence is often a precursor to a violent home later in life, for both parties

What To Do?

  • Make this month, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, the month you begin a conversation with your teen
  • Learn more at: teendvmonth.org, loveisrespect.org, and many other helpful websites
  • Look for these signs of dating abuse: extreme mood swings, poor grades, isolation from friends and family, unexplained bruises or scratches, sexual activity
  • Provide the loving support and listening ear they need and then offer them ways to heal from abuse and have healthy dating relationships. Our Hope-Filled Teens Support Group is an excellent place to find healing and learn new relationship skills. Our next group starts March 20th. Learn more at doorofhopeministries.org/events

If you’re wanting to help a teen, a $45 donation will sponsor one 13-18 year old for 9 weeks in our Hope-filled Teen Support Group. To keep the group easily accessible to teens, we rely on your donations to fund the group. Donate at doorofhopeministries.org/donate. Thank you!

Free PDF of This Post