Teen Dating Violence

Many teens experience dating violence, defined as behavior that is controlling, abusive, and aggressive toward one partner in a romantic relationship. It occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships and can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination of these.

Download this brochure on Teen Dating Violence.

Am I being abused?


• Feel like you're walking on eggshells?

• Change your behavior due to his/her moods?

• Not see family or friends to avoid his/her jealousy or anger?

• Feel threatened or scared by your boyfriend's/girlfriend's moods, actions or behaviors?


• Threaten to harm you?

• Call you names or put you down?

• Throw or break things?

• Force you to engage in sexual acts?

• Open your mail, or read your journals?

• Demand to know where you are all the time, who you are with, and where you are going?

• Threaten suicide?

• Threaten constantly to break up with you?

• Worry about you breaking up with him/her?

Are you or is someone you know abusive? 


• Hurt or threaten to hurt others in any way (physically, emotionally, or sexually?

• Not listen or respect what your/their partner says, and always have to be right?

• Put down or make your/their partner feel bad in public or private?

• Have a bad temper?

• Act unpredictable, scary, or controlling?

• Blame your girlfriend or boyfriend when you mistreat them?

• Find that you are extremely jealous or possessive?

• Call or text all the time to "check up" on your/their partners?

• Give your girlfriend or boyfriend orders?

• Make all the decisions about your girlfriend's or boyfriend's life?

• Make harassing phone calls to your girlfriend or boyfriend?

• Use objects or weapons to scare her or him or damage or destroy her or his things?

• Have a history of bad relationships or violence?

• Force or manipulate your girlfriend or boyfriend to have sex?

• Promise to change after each incident of abuse?

Teen Dating Violence and Teen Equality Wheels

The teen dating violence wheel shows the different ways abusers can manipulate and abuse their victims. The eight components which make up the wheel are common forms of violence present in abusive relationships. Each person’s experience with domestic violence is different and so it is important to recognize that each of these components may not be present in your relationship. If you believe that you are in an abusive relationship, reach out. You can call our hotline anonymously, if you’d like. We can talk to you about your situation to help you determine your next steps.

The teen equality wheel represents components of a healthy and safe teenage relationship. No relationship is perfect, and you can always work to better the communication, respect, and trust and to address the issues that may be present in your relationship. It may be useful to compare the teen equality wheel to the teen dating violence wheel to better assess your situation. If you feel safe to do so, try sitting down with your partner and talking about the wheels. This may help you open lines of communication and learning about each other.

Signs of Teen Dating Violence:

  • Visible physical injury or multiple injuries
  • Explanations for injuries (bruises, broken bones, etc.) that don't make sense
  • Sudden problems at work or school (poor grades, increased fighting, etc.)
  • Absences from work/school (being late often or dropping out)
  • Using clothes or makeup to cover bruises
  • Frequently getting headaches, backaches, stomach aches, or other stress-induced illnesses
  • Increasing number of upsetting personal phone calls
  • Becoming quiet and withdrawn from regular social activities or sports
  • Partner is always around (drops off/picks up from work/school, calls frequently, etc.)
  • Frequent harassing text messages or messages on Facebook, twitter, etc.


Effects of Teen Dating Violence:

  • Engaging in risky sexual behaviors
  • Beginning or increased substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.)
  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Contraction of STDs
  • Eating Disorders and issues with body image
  • Permanent injury
  • Attempted suicide
  • Problems at school/work
  • Risk of further domestic violence