Domestic violence is not strictly an adult problem. Teens can begin experimenting with how abusive behavior toward a dating partner can establish an imbalance of power and control over that partner. Teens will make mistakes or use poor judgment at times but when a pattern develops of intentionally choosing to behave in ways that cause the partner to feel fear, degradation and humiliation we call this teen dating violence.
It is important to teach and model healthy relationships so that teens learn to value and expect a relationship based on equality and to look for traits in a partner like fairness, communication, respect, trust, support and honesty.
Visual tools called “wheels” have been developed to help show what different types of abusive behaviors are commonly used to by perpetrators of domestic or dating violence. Compare the abusive behaviors on the Teen Power and Control Wheel to the healthy behaviors on the Teen Equality Wheel.
The following websites have very helpful information about this issue including some interactive quizzes, graphics and downloadable resources.
Call 1-866-331-9474 to talk to a Peer Advocate
Victims may contact the Women’s Resource Center to talk with an Advocate
24 Hour Crisis Line: (800) 554-4972