Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a break-up. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.)

Dating violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors that one partner uses to get power over the other, and it includes:

  • Any kind of physical violence or threat of physical violence to get control
  • Emotional or mental abuse, such as playing mind games, making you feel crazy, or constantly putting you down or criticizing you
  • Sexual abuse, including making you do anything you don’t want to
  • Refusing to have safe sex or making you feel badly about yourself sexually

Does your partner:

  • Have a history of bad relationships or past violence?
  • Always blame his/her problems on other people?
  • Blame you for “making” him/her treat you badly?
  • Try to use drugs or alcohol to coerce you or get you alone when you don’t want to be?
  • Try to control you by being bossy, not taking your opinion seriously or making all of the decisions about who you see, what you wear, what you do, etc.?
  • Talk negatively about people in sexual ways or talk about sex like it’s a game or contest?

Do you:

  • Feel less confident about yourself when you’re with him/her?
  • Feel scared or worried about doing or saying “the wrong thing?”
  • Find yourself changing your behavior out of fear or to avoid a fight

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions your safety may be at risk.

If you are in immediate danger call 911 or call the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-866-SAFE.014