What is date violence in teenagers?

Dr. Elif E. Oker, MD
Medical Toxicology

Teen dating violence is a form of domestic violence and involves the same power and control issues associated with other forms of domestic violence. Psychological and physical threats are used to control the victim. The batterer may try to isolate the victim from friends and family. Text messaging, email, social media sites like Facebook as well as control through peer pressure/peer groups may be used to control, threaten and intimidate the victim.

Parents need to understand that teens relationships where domestic violence is present are difficult to break. It is hard to avoid the batterer if they are in the same school or activities. Teens may not want to speak with their parents about intimate partners. Peer pressure and cliques add to the challenge particularly if the batterer is popular or well-liked. Parents need to be alert to changes in behavior and keen to their teens use of cellphones, text messages and social media sites as these may be ways the batterer attempts to control the victim.

Date violence or abuse can take on many forms which can include physical abuse, mental (emotional) abuse, or date rape. Never should you date someone who threatens you, hurts you physically or mentally, or forces you to have sex against your will. A healthy relationship is about trust and love. Date violence is about power and control. If someone treats you badly in a relationship he or she has issues that have nothing to do with you. It is NOT YOUR FAULT.

Confide in someone you trust, which can be a parent, friend, teacher, or clergy member. Go to RAINN's (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) website ( which is an excellent source for education and information.

Stay strong, stay happy and healthy, and be a survivor, not a victim!

Teen Dating Violence is defined as the psychological, emotional, physical, and sexual violence that occurs within a dating relationship. In this form of relationship, bullying can occur during face-to-face encounters and electronically. Just like with bullying, the use of technology makes escaping an abusive partner difficult and it can continue 24/7. If not deterred early, victims can suffer from long-term effects, such as:

• decline in academic performance

• susceptibility to alcohol or drug use

• depression

• self-harm

• suicide attempts

• future relationships with abusive partners

If you or someone you know is a victim of teen dating violence, please seek help.


The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or 1.800.787.3224 (TTY)


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.