February is over, but it still isn’t too late to raise awareness to an issue that is often ignored, dating violence. Approximately one-third of teens who are in a violent relationship ever tell anyone about the abuse.
What is dating violence? It is controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. Dating violence includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse.
Dating violence is a public health issue. About 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
When Mrs. Mondt, a student guidance counselor at Stacey Middle School, was asked what to do and how to avoid it, she responded with, “Girls and boys need to be socially smart by being aware of their surroundings and being aware of people that you know and trust. Go with your gut feeling, if you don’t feel safe, leave.”
Dating violence can lead to poor school function. Students may skip school to avoid their dating partner or struggle to concentrate on school work. These can lead to declining grades, failure on major exams, and high school dropout rates. It is associated with future victimization and perpetration, especially during college years. This is another reason why it should be intervened early to break the cycle.
Dating violence also impacts one’s physical and psychological well-being. Victims may be injured or experience mental health issues. Some of those include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or suicidal ideation. They sometimes also use negative self-coping skills such as restrictive eating, self-mutilation, or substance use to deal with the abuse. In more extreme cases, it can result in death.
Dating violence is rarely reported. This means that millions of tweens and teens are not receiving the help that they need. If you know someone in an abusive relationship, report it to an adult or an authority figure immediately.