Dating Violence Awareness

DOVE Center provides educational seminars to teenagers at area middle and high schools, as well as at Dixie State University. The seminar addresses warning signs of abuse, where and how to get help if you’re in an abusive dating relationship, important statistics, and educational resources. If your school, college class or club, or youth group would like to schedule a seminar, please call the Outreach Center at 435-628-1204.

Ask yourself:

  • Does my partner check my cell phone without permission? Constantly put me down?
  • Does my dating partner have an explosive temper or use physical force to cause me fear?
  • Does my boyfriend or girlfriend make false accusations, act possessively or extremely jealous, or use technology (texting, social networking) to bully, harass, stalk, or intimidate me?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you are likely in an abusive relationship.

Unhealthy relationships can start early, and some even last a lifetime. Being aware of warning signs of abuse (like those listed above) and understanding components of healthy relationships are keys in avoiding abusive dating relationships. Dating violence may be hard to identify at first because it usually starts with simple teasing or other behavior that can be explained away as “normal” to dating relationships (acting a little jealous, demanding time together, etc.). But unhealthy behaviors like this simply set the stage for more serious abuse, namely physical or sexual violence.

Most people are unaware of how frequently teens experience dating violence. Yet one in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped, or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. And one in three adolescents is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner. One out of every two teens has compromised their personal beliefs in order to please the person they are dating.

Dating violence is a real phenomenon happening in every high school. But what is it exactly? Dating violence is any act by one person in a dating relationship that injures their dating partner physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or sexually; and includes stalking. Dating violence occurs in person or electronically; and between current or former dating partners. Dating violence occurs everywhere and to all kinds of people and often escalates over time. Alcohol and drugs do not cause dating violence and dating violence is never the victim’s fault.

Only 33% of teens who have been in or known about an abusive dating relationship report having told anyone about it. (Tech Abuse in Teen Relationships Study, 2007) The majority of teens who do tell, only tell a peer and approximately only 6% tell an authority. Although 82% of parents felt confident they could recognize the signs of dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify all the warnings signs. (Futures Without Violence Survey, 2009)