Define dating abuse

Any physical abuse whatsoever (unless desired and agreed upon by both partners, e.g., with a “safe word”) is completely and totally unacceptable. There are many reasons why you may be led to doubt yourself.

On one hand, there is the gut instinct to provide someone we care about with “the benefit of the doubt.” It’s when you start second-guessing this impulse, when you start doubting the benefits you’re providing, that the warning bells may start going off.

One NIJ-funded study examined the prevalence of dating violence among 5,647 teens (51.8 percent female, 74.6 percent Caucasian) from 10 middle schools and high schools (representing grades 7-12) throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. "Partner Violence Among Adolescents in Opposite-Sex Romantic Relationships: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health." 91 (October 2001): 1679-1685.

Findings indicated that within the past year: The study also specifically examined dating violence rates among teens who had dated within the past year (66 percent of total teens; n = 3,745).

Surviving intimate partner violence, or relationship abuse, is hard.

It’s especially difficult when you go to the same school as your abuser and have no choice but to eat in the same dining hall, study at the same library, attend the same classes, or participate in the same extracurricular activities.

Know that you have the right to be safe, and that your school has a legal obligation under Title IX to ensure that you can safely continue your education.

“Prevalence of Partner Violence in Same-Sex Romantic and Sexual Relationships in a National Sample of Adolescents.” Journal of Adolescent Health 35 (August 2004): 124-131.Know that whatever decision(s) you make about leaving are not binding — circumstances may prevent you from leaving in one moment, but that does not mean that opportunities to leave will not arise in the future (and vice versa).Know that leaving can be an option, even if it may not seem that way at times.Our abusers often made terrifying threats to shut down the possibility of leaving (threatening self-harm or suicide, or threatening to hurt us or our loved ones).Social, economic, and political factors play significant roles as well: for instance, sharing a lease and other costs of living, depending on your partner as a caretaker, being undocumented, or sharing the same social circle all may make it near impossible to leave.

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