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Mental Health Center

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Domestic Violence - Teen Relationship Abuse

Teens who abuse their girlfriends or boyfriends do the same things as adults who abuse their partners. Teen dating violence is just as serious as adult domestic violence. And it's common. About 2 in 10 teen girls say they have been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. About 1 in 10 teen boys report abuse in dating relationships.10

In adult domestic violence, women are more often the victim. In teen relationship abuse, both boys and girls report abuse about equally.11 But boys tend to start the violence more often and use greater force.11

Abusive relationships have good times and bad times. Part of what makes dating violence so confusing is that there is love mixed with the abuse. This can make it hard to tell if you're really being abused. If you're not sure, see Signs of Domestic Violence.

You deserve to be treated in a loving, respectful way at all times by your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Ask yourself these questions. Does your boyfriend or girlfriend:

  • Have a history of bad relationships or past violence?
  • Always blame his or her problems on other people?
  • Blame you for "making" him or her treat you badly?
  • Try to use drugs or alcohol to get you alone when you don't want to be?
  • Try to control you by being bossy, not taking your opinion seriously, or making all of the decisions about who you see or what you wear?
  • Talk about people in sexual ways or talk about sex like it's a game or contest?
  • Pressure you to have or force you to have unprotected sex?
  • Constantly text you or call you to find out where you are and who you're with? You might think that's about caring, but it's really about controlling your relationship.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be in an abusive relationship. Talk to your parents or another adult family member, a school counselor, or teacher. Or you can get help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) or go to or the National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline at 1-866-331-9474 (

Remember, you're not alone. Talking really does help. And without help, the violence will only get worse.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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