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Dating abuse or dating violence is defined as the perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship.
It is also when one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through abuse/violence.
Unfortunately, teen dating violence—the type of intimate partner violence that occurs between two young people who are, or who were once in, an intimate relationship—is a serious problem in the United States.
A national survey found that ten percent of teens, female and male, had been the victims of physical dating violence within the past year and can increase the risk of physical injury, poor academic performance, binge drinking, suicide attempts, unhealthy sexual behaviors, substance abuse, negative body image and self-esteem, and violence in future relationships.
Breakup violence among teens is a crime that has no zip code. A relationship ends and what happens is an emotional surge of uncontrollable anger.
It can be verbal or physical and sometimes, as in the case of Wayland, Mass., teen Lauren Astley, it can end in death. Researchers estimate that one in three young adults between the ages of 14 and 20 has experienced some form of dating violence.
Dating violence crosses all racial, age, economic and social lines.
Here are some things to be aware of: Social media adds enormous pressure -- the digital footprint that every young person lives with makes breaking up harder, sometimes humiliating. She now volunteers at the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline.
Students participating in Lincoln Sudbury High School’s Mentors in Violence Prevention program give a dramatic presentation to fellow students about the warning signs of dating abuse and breakup violence.
Students with Boston’s Start Strong program aim to promote healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence and Shawsheen Regional Technical High School’s dating awareness club meets weekly to discuss how to educate classmates about the dangers of dating abuse.
The message must be clear that treating people in abusive ways will not be accepted, and policies must enforce this message to keep students safe.
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“Of teenagers who are in abusive relationships, 3 percent will tell an authority figure, 6 percent will tell a family member, but 75 percent will tell a friend - that’s why we focus on kids,” former Middlesex County, Mass., District Attorney Gerry Leone tells “48 Hours”.