Why Should Teens Care About Domestic Violence?

Why Should Teens Care About Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence. That phrase seems to apply to older people almost inherently, doesn’t it? Domestic meaning of or relating to the home. So, by definition, that means violence that affects families right? Well, yes. And no. But can’t we really just think of domestic violence as something that affects the 30 and older crowd?

Not quite.

Domestic violence is relevant to teens. In fact, domestic violence is relevant to everyone. Not only because it’s one of the most widespread issues affecting Americans, but because domestic violence has a wider definition then one might think.

Let’s start with how we define domestic violence:

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

So you can see how dating abuse falls under domestic violence. Yes, it’s a more formal sounding title, but it still encompasses the experiences of many teens in abusive relationships. Why are we stressing the term domestic violence today? Because it’s October.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). It’s 31 days to remember that everyone deserves a healthy, safe relationship. One month to stress the importance of an issue that affects roughly 1/3 of American teenagers. A reminder of the stats:

– 1 in 3 teens experience some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships, including verbal and emotional abuse.i
– 40% of teenage girls, ages 14 to 17, know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by their partner.ii
– Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser. iii
– 1 in 4 teenage girls who have been in relationships reveal they have been pressured to perform oral sex or engage in intercourse. Iv

So this month get involved. Stay tuned for ways to make this DVAM count in your community.


Stats courtesy of Break the Cycle: www.breakthecycle.org

i Carolyn Tucker Halpern, Ph.D. et al., “Partner Violence Among Adolescents in Opposite-Sex Romantic Relationships:

Findings From the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.” American Journal of Public Health 91 (2001) 1680.

ii Children Now/Kaiser Permanente “National Poll on Kids Health and Safety,” December 1995.

iii Children Now/Kaiser Permanente “National Poll on Kids Health and Safety,” December 1995.

iv Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.


Comment section

3 replies
  1. So, like I just saw the episode of Teen Mom
    where Amber beats Gray at the stairs and kicks him
    also hits him in the face and ear

    So, like, this is abuse and you guys didnt even make a peep
    as if only girls are ever abused

    this is like video proof that she was abusing him
    verbally and physically and YOU didnt do a thing
    If you are going to pretend to be for domestic violence awareness
    then you need to start acting like it
    and acknowledging that girls and women do this as much or more than men

    if you’re gonna only be one-sided ? why should anyone listen to you ?

  2. I haven’t fully looked into and read this site; I was watching the season finale of Teen Mom and heard about it. I was very interested because i myself have been a victim of domestic violence. I now am twenty one years old and still haunted by the memories of the violence i let occur in my relationships when i was younger.
    Men and women can both be victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence can also occur In more ways than one; Physical abuse, verbal and emotional abuse even sexual abuse. the problem with most young teen relationships, i realize is the inability to realize when enough is enough. People often come up with excuses for their partner (they were drinking, it was an accident, somebody else made them angry); The problem is they did it, period. sometimes people don’t realize that whats going on is a big problem until its too late. it usually starts out as something as small as putting their partner down, talking bad about their family, the things they may like to do, the clothes they wear, their music they like, Ect. that may cause the person to start to change for their partner wear what the partner likes listen to their music, seems like nothing big at first whats the big deal with that? Nobody should ever have to change who they are for somebody else, if they can like and respect you for you then, “hit the road jack” If you love somebody it may seem like the hardest thing in the world to do, but i will tell you if your unhappy most of the time the best and strongest thing for you to do is just walk away. many people have the question of why? what did I do wrong? they try to find reason and ways to fix things, it never gets better if somebody is putting you down, making you cry all the time, hitting you and then that person will turn around and say “im sorry” “I love you” well just listen to the name of the website love is respect. there are many good people out there just as well as their are bad people. Just listen to your BRAIN that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach is there for a reason.
    Ive been through it all, i spent years of being emotionally drained. I was trapped with the questions without answers, i was stuck inside this weak body that had been destroyed. At the beginning i thought being strong was to stay and work it out and try to fix things, but it only gets worse it ALWAYS gets worse with domestic violence. I have been verbally abused to the point where i felt worthless and useless. I was physically abused to the point where my forehead was bruised i had two black eyes and a fat lip, and in the end those bruises were uncover-able… and i couldn’t lie about it anymore to my work to my parents to my friends the people who stayed by my side the whole time even when i didn’t ask them to. I woke up and looked in the mirror and said this is over and my mom went with me to file a report. I was with that guy for over two years and friends with him since i was sixteen. Just like that it ended it was over and i could be happy and be myself again..
    if i would have been strong enough in the beginning to walk away i wouldn’t have those awful memories. I’m just saying this because i would hate it to happen to somebody else its an awful ongoing hurt until you walk away, NEVER tell yourself your not strong enough for something!

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