We are all that our childhood experiences have led us to be. As teenagers, our relationships tend to influence us drastically. Although the dating experience in our teenage years is the most memorable, for some children it becomes a lifetime trauma to live with. Roughly 1.5 million high school teenagers in the U.S. have been physically abused in a single year by their loving partners. And, around 33% of sexual violence victims are victims of teen dating.
What is Teen Dating Violence?
Teen dating violence, as the name suggests, is physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse of anyone between the age of 12 and 18 in a past or present consensual or romantic relationship. The different types of Teen Dating Violence include:
Physical Violence: Physical teen dating violence involves biting, beating, hair pulling, shoving, or hitting.
Psychological Abuse: Psychological abuse can be independent and can coexist with physical violence as well. It includes name-calling, bullying, stalking, monitoring, blackmailing, etc.
Sexual Violence: Sexual violence includes rape, coercion, or forcing the partner to indulge in sexual activities.
Reasons Why Teen Dating Violence Takes Place
As per Dating Abuse Statistics, violent behavior often begins when an adolescent is in 6th grade - 12th grade. So, why is it that teens are more vulnerable to experiencing abuse from their partners? One of the major reasons is age. At such a tender age, young students do not have the appropriate ability to form informed judgments about their partners which is the biggest reason why they are at a higher risk of experiencing teen dating violence. Apart from age, several other reasons play an important role. A few reasons are mentioned below:
Immaturity: As aforementioned, teenage is an age when youngsters are not mature enough. They do not have life's experience and cannot communicate properly with their partners to maintain a healthy and flourishing relationship.
They are more emotional than practical: The youngsters are more involved in their emotions to think straight and be practical. Many times, the relationships become unhealthy and toxic.
Mental Problems: Many teenagers go through mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, etc. which become a barrier to maintaining healthy relationships. Many sexual assault perpetrators have experienced some kind of sexual assault or are going through mental illnesses like substance abuse, PTSD, and chronic depression.
Alcohol and Drug Consumption: At this age, adolescents are furthermore introduced to drugs and alcohol which increases the threat of committing sexual abuse in a drunk state. According to the statistics, approximately 50% of the student sexual violence involves alcohol.
Access to Social Media: Today, children are actively using social media where the content is not filtered according to their age. Most of the time, this use leads to violent and aggressive behavior among youth.
Lack of Parental Supervision: Teenage is a vulnerable age. Anyone can persuade youngsters to engage in criminal activities. Therefore, parental supervision becomes essential. However, with a lack of parental guidance children are prone to committing crimes like sexual violence.
Peer Pressure: Many teens are not violent by nature. Nevertheless, being in groups and having violent friends can lead them to adopt their habits and violent behavior. They also feel pressured to act in a particular way when in groups. Furthermore, sometimes they are even forced to commit violence by more popular teens/peer groups.
A grave problem that makes the age more vulnerable is the sensitivity attached to it. It is indispensable for both schools and parents to pay extra attention to the teens as these are the growing years wherein anyone can persuade or manipulate the child. Therefore, it is crucial to talk to your young one whenever you encounter something weird about their behavior.
Consequences of Teen Dating Violence
Experiencing teen dating violence can have detrimental impacts on the mental, physical, psychological, and emotional health of the victim. Studies have proven that adolescents who go through TDV are at a higher risk of suicidal thoughts, alcoholism, self-harm, eating disorders, and violent behavior.
Although all victims are impacted differently, here are some of the possible consequences of teen violence:
Poor Academic Performance - The primary impact that can be seen is a deteriorating academic performance and lack of interest in school and college activities. If you suddenly see your child performing poorly in academics, then it might be a bigger concern that needs discussion with your young ones.
Substance Abuse - Victims of sexual or physical assault, to relieve the stress and combat the trauma, take help of excessive drink and drug use.
Anxiety, Depression, and Mental Illnesses - TDS has a lasting impact and can result in anxiety or depression. It can also make a person lose his/her self-esteem which is why many teens indulge in inappropriate and vigorous diets resulting in poor physical health as well.
Pregnancy and STD - Forced sexual activities can also lead to unwanted pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases which are a threat not only to the victim but also to the newborn. To avoid pregnancies, many girls also go through risky abortions.
Suicidal thoughts and self-harm - Research shows that the victims of sexual or physical abuse are more prone to developing suicidal thoughts and indulging in self-harm.
Apart from the aforementioned consequences, victims of teen dating violence might also find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships. Many times, the trauma of the incident is so debilitating that it ruins their future relationships. They also develop a lack of trust in their future partners, affecting their relationship lifelong.