Dating violence is the intentional use of physical, sexual, verbal psychological or emotional aggression by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control another person in a dating relationship. Stalking can also be placed under the term’s broad umbrella
There is strong evidence to support the fact that teen dating violence may be an indicator of gun violence and school shootings. Identifying teen dating violence could potentially reduce the number of school shootings in America.
• Both girls and boys are victims of abuse and are perpetrators of abuse.
• Abuse almost always reoccurs in the relationship and most abuse gets more severe with time.
• Between 10 and 38 percent of high school students have been victims of dating violence.
• Among students who are currently dating, as many as 59 percent have experienced physical violence, and 96 percent have experienced psychological or emotional abuse.
• Adults who use violence with their dating partners often being doing so during adolescence, with the first episode typically occurring by age 15.
Characteristics or signs of the behaviors:
• Physical abuse — hitting, pinching, shaking, choking, shoving, pushing, biting, spitting, pulling hair, threatening, throwing things.
• Psychological/Emotional abuse — ignoring your feelings, insulting your beliefs or values, calling you names, isolating, displaying inappropriate anger, scaring you/driving recklessly, keeping you from leaving, putting down your family/friends, humiliating you in public/private, and threatening to hurt oneself.
• Sexual abuse — forcing a date to have sex, forcing a date to do other sexual things he or she doesn’t want to do. Includes any behavior by a dating partner that is used to manipulate, gain control, makes a person feel bad about self or others, makes a person afraid of her/his boyfriend/girlfriend.
Guidelines for helping people who are being abused:
• Believe your friend’s story and make sure they are safe.
• Let them know that they don’t deserve to be abused.
• Ask them lots of questions to get them to think about the problem.
• Ask them what their options are and what they can do. (Stay, leave, talk to partner, get advice)
• Let them know that abuse almost always gets worse in a relationship if it’s ignored.
• Encourage them to seek help. (See community resources below),
The National Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474, is the direct service provider operating 24/7 text, phone, and live chat services. The texting function of the Helpline allows for users to text the Helpline advocates 24 hours a day, seven days a week about anything ranging from questions about healthy dating to raising red flags about relationships
• Call 911 in an emergency;
• Parents/school officials (counselors, interventionist, principal, favorite teacher);
• New Choices, Inc. in Sidney: 24/7 — 937-498-7261;
• National Dating Violence Hotline: 24/7 — 1-800-799-7233.
Steve Klingler is a Sidney-Shelby Crime Stoppers board member. Crime Stoppers is a diverse group of individuals working with local law enforcement officials to hand out rewards for information.