Teens today face challenges unlike any that have come before.Navigating the current mine field of influences, pressures, needs and feelings takes an enormous amount of maturity and skill, but even the most mature and skilled among them may be at risk of uncharacteristic behaviors or an unanticipated event that could change their lives forever.It is not uncommon that for weeks, months, or even years after a sexual assault to suffer emotional and/or physical difficulties because of it.
Particularly at risk are teens who lack the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to be successful in the many kinds of relationships in their lives.
It is our belief that healthy, respectful relationships and “relating” can bolster a teen’s ability to make positive life decisions.
Abusive dating partners are usually romantic and charming at first, and may sweep their partners off their feet with lots of attention and intense bonding.
It is not uncommon for a teen to confuse jealousy, possessiveness, and controlling behavior with love.
Being in an abusive relationship can be scary and confusing.
It can feel like a roller coaster ride, with unexpected turns and frightening plunges downward.
Teen dating violence is a significant problem because of its alarming prevalence and its physical and mental health consequences.
Although statistics as to prevalence vary widely, most studies of middle and high school students estimate the rate of physical aggression to be between 10-20% in the general teen population, and much higher in high-risk youth.
Children may assume they are responsible for the situation because they have misbehaved, or are not “good enough”.
Their loyalties are sometimes torn between parents, and they may develop a variety of coping strategies to help them manage their feelings, often with negative consequences.
If the partner promises to change, how will she/he know the change is for real?