It's easy to classify teen dating violence as physical abuse, and that is certainly part of the profile. But teen dating violence can be emotional as well as physical, and can happen to boys as well as girls.
Regardless of who you are and what your sex is, the truth of the matter is if you are a teen (or adult for that matter) no one can force you to do anything you don't want. Counselors say there is a fine line between "date rape" and teen dating violence, but upon closer inspection it's easy to see that the two have a lot in common.
Date rape tends to be an isolated act. A teenage girl goes out on a date and is forced to be sexually involved with another boy or boys. The act doesn't have to end in sexual intercourse. It can be fondling or even kissing. But again, if one of the parties is forced to do something she doesn't want to by violent teens it's a pretty good indicator of date rape.
Teen dating violence tends to be more prolonged and drawn out and is tied just as much into the emotional makeup of the relationship as the physical. Some pretty good indicators tend to be: if he/she won't let you have friends, constantly checks up on you, is jealous or possessive, thinks that being jealous or possessive is a sign of love or romance, threatens you in private or in front of friends, uses weapons or bodily harm to make a point. The list goes on and on.
Remember, teen dating violence and abuse isn't just about hitting. It's yelling and threatening and saying I'll throw myself off a bridge if you leave me, its obsessive phone calling and anything else that can wear a partner down over time until they feel there is no way out.
If you feel you're on the receiving end of teen dating violence speak up. There is absolutely no need to feel like a victim. Teenagers, like every other segment of society deserve respect and has a right to be treated well. Relate what happened/what is happening to someone you can trust like your parents, a friend, or a clergyman. Teen dating violence relies on the partners feelings of insecurity to be a success. The more isolated you are from your teachers, your friends and family, the more control that boyfriend/girlfriend has over you. Another reminder about violent teens; the sooner you alert professionals to the behavior, the sooner it can be stopped. Being an emotional punching bag for you partner in the hope that you can "change him" (or her) is full of faulty logic. Violent teens tend to mature into violent adults.
Counselors and heath-care professionals advise some or all of the following: Alert your school counselor or security officer at school if you are continually feeling threatened; keep a daily log of the situations which are making you feel abuses. Do not meet your partner alone if you feel threatened. And above all, do no let him or her in your home or car when you are alone.
The flip side of this discussion is if you suspect of our friends to be on the receiving end of teen dating violence. Don't just be a silent witness. DO SOMETHING. Most teens talk to others in their peer group about their problems. If your friend tells you he/she is being victimized, there is always something you can do to help. First thing to remember is you're not "ratting" on your friend if you speak to someone on their behalf. Those same signs of abuse we mentioned earlier are going to be present whether it's you or a friend on the receiving end.
So, talk to your friend. Express your worries and concerns. It's not about you casting judgment, it's a about you doing something to help.