”You don’t own me…”
For one in three teenagers, their first love introduces physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
Partner -on-partner violence is more common in South Africa than in any other country in the world. Not surprisingly then, one-third of young girls experience abuse and violence in their first relationships as teens. Dating violence often occurs when one partner wants to exert power and control over the other, and both boys and girls fall victim to dating violence.
What is teen dating violence?
Teen dating violence is any controlling, abusive or aggressive behaviour that occurs in a romantic dating relationship. It can happen in straight or gay relationships. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or a combination.
Fast facts on Teen Relationships
- Research showed relationships usually begin at age 14 or younger.
- A third of 11-12 year old’s said they have been in a relationship.
- Sex is considered to be already part of a relationship for 11-14-year-old’s
- 25% of girls revealed that they were pressured to perform sexual acts
- 25% of girls reported being subjected to repeated verbal abuse.
- Dating violence happens in about 30% of all relationships.
- Young people ages 12 – 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault.
- The ages of 16 -24 are the most susceptible to dating violence.
- 90% of the victims of violence in relationships are female. Women tend to believe the abuse is their fault, and they don’t deserve better.
RED FLAGS / WARNING SIGNS IN RELATIONSHIPS
Physical violence: While shoving and pushing can indicate, hitting is conclusive that your partner is abusive.
Symbolic violence: is the destruction of things that belong to you. If your partner throws a TV out of the window – the message is that he can throw you out the window too.
Fast-paced relationships: I, the pace is fast in a relationship. It indicates control. It is abusive to push someone into something they are not ready for.
Persistence: If he won’t take no for an answer, it’s not because he’s smitten. Anybody who hears the word no is trying to control you.
What are examples of Teen Dating Violence?
Examples of controlling behaviour:
• Calling you all the time
• Prescribing what you must wear, criticism, isolation
• Deciding who you may hang out with, jealousy
• Wanting to be with you all the time, quick involvement
Examples of verbal/emotional behaviour:
Examples of physical behaviour:
• Strangling, cruelty to animals or children
Example of sexual behaviour:
• Force sexual acts
• Force having sex, playful use of force during sex
• Prevent using birth control
• Unwanted touching/kissing
Example of online behaviour:
• Posting embarrassing photos
• Posting threats
What are the effects on the victim?
Teen dating abuse can cause the victim to develop low self-esteem, depression, become suicidal, develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol, develop eating disorders or engage in dangerous sexual activities.