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Teen Dating Violence

One in five teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship. If you are experiencing this, you are in an abusive relationship. There is help. Both boys and girls can be victims of dating violence, and both boys and girls can commit dating violence. Nothing you say, wear, or do gives anyone the right to hurt you physically or emotionally. Being a victim of dating violence is not your fault. Abusers make a choice to use this behavior.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines teen dating violence as the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional aggression within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner.

Teen dating violence can present itself in many different ways. 

Here are warning signs of dating abuse:

  • Not letting you hang out with your friends
  • Belittling you
  • Calling you names
  • Extreme jealousy and insecurity
  • Telling you what to wear
  • Having to be with you all the time
  • Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  • Calling or texting you frequently to find out where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing
  • Physically hurting you (punching, shoving, kicking)
  • Strangling
  • Pressuring or forcing you to have sex

If you are being abused, you might...

  • Believe it’s your own fault
  • Feel angry, sad, depressed or confused
  • Feel helpless to stop the abuse
  • Feel threatened, humiliated or ashamed
  • Feel anxious, trapped or lonely
  • Worry about what might happen next
  • Feel like you can’t talk to family or friends
  • Be afraid of getting hurt
  • Feel protective of your boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Feel bad about yourself


If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, here are some tips to help keep yourself safer:

  • Let friends, family, or a trusted adult know that you are afraid or need help. 
  • Trust your instincts. Don’t downplay the danger. If you feel unsafe, you probably are. 
  • Take threats seriously. Danger is often highest when the abuser talks about suicide or murder or when the victim tries to break off the relationship. 
  • When you go out, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. 
  • Memorize important phone numbers, such as people to contact or places to go in an emergency. 
  • Keep spare change, calling cards, or a cell phone handy for immediate access to communication. 
  • Go out in a group or with other couples.
  • Have money available for transportation if you need to take a taxi or bus to escape.

If you think someone you know may be an abuser, you can help.

  • If you feel safe doing so, ask your friend to clarify their feelings and let them know you are concerned. 
  • Encourage your friend to seek help from a counselor or trusted adult. 
  • Understand that abuse is a choice.
  • Don’t encourage jokes about abuse.
  • If you feel stuck in the middle, reach out to a counselor or trusted adult for advice.

Teen dating violence can happen anywhere. If you know someone is being abused, please refer to the Resources section for information on who to contact for help.


Love is Not Abuse - 

Love is Respect - 866.331.9474 - 

National Center for Victims of Crime - 800.FYI.CALL -

Teen Dating Violence - 

Disclaimer: The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office is not responsible for the content of listed websites, which may have changed since review.

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