Girls and Teen Dating Violence

What Do Girls Face?

When you look at these posters what kinds of words or thoughts are going through your mind when you read about their situations on each red flag – sadness, fear, humiliation, jealousy, violence, pride, defiance, anger?

All girls could be experiencing violence; these pictures from the Red Flag Campaign show what kinds of situations they might be facing. Maybe they are being put down by a partner, pressured into sex, or even the one hurting their partner.  These girls show that anybody could be the victim – or even perpetrator – of emotional abuse, verbal manipulation, or physical violence. It’s important to understand this in order to get the overall picture of where girls fit into the issue of teen dating violence (TDV).

So where do they fit?

“Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical,

emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner – a figure that far exceeds victimization rates

for other types of violence affecting youth.”–Futures Without Violence

The above quote reiterates what we’ve already talked about earlier this week, that girls are the most at-risk and where they fall into the overall cycle of violence. But, the other point to reiterate is even though they are the biggest victims, the evidence shows that girls are also perpetrators of the violence.

A girl’s role in the cycle of violence often starts with the fact that many of them experience some kind of violence or abuse in either childhood or in past dating experiences. They’ve usually had to deal with a combination of verbal harassment or were even physically hurt and when they propel that behavior forward to future situations, they take their place in the cycle of violence.

The point overall is that girls are victims and contributors, just like boys, and until the cycle of abuse stops everyone has the potential to be a victim or an abuser.

But what can be done to stop the cycle?

The first step is to recognize the cycle. Breakthecycle.org shares a list of the most common signs of abuse, some of these include

  1. Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  2. Constant put-downs
  3. Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  4. Explosive temper
  5. Physically hurting you in any way

After recognizing it, the next option is to take steps to stay safe and get help using a guide like A Teen’s Guide to Safety Planning.

Loveisrespect.org shares a great list of ways to get help, whether someone just needs to talk, wants support, or even resources on how to stop being abusive. You can also see our website for more helpful resources.

Dating violence is rough on girls, but there is hope no matter where you are in the cycle. For inspiration check out these stories of teen dating abuse survivors.

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One Response

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