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Teen Dating Violence

Teen dating violence should never be accepted as the new norm.

Teen dating violence is happening among our youth in Memphis and Shelby County. For many violent teens, it’s what they know from seeing domestic violence in their parents’ relationships, and it transfers into the relationships they start developing as young adults.

Part of the work of Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County is to spread awareness and education about domestic violence, including teen dating violence, throughout our community. Both parents and teens need to be aware of the prevalence of teen dating violence.

  • Domestic and sexual violence affect women regardless of their age, and teens and young women are especially vulnerable.
  • Women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault.*
  • People ages 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking.*
  • Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.*
  • Across the nation, nearly one in 10 high school students have been hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend.*
  • One in three teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped or physically hurt by a partner and 45 percent of girls know a friend or peer who has been pressured into having either intercourse or oral sex.*
  • One in four teen girls in a relationship says she has been threatened with violence or experienced verbal abuse, and 13 percent say they were physically hurt or hit.*
  • One in four teens in a relationship say they have been called names, harassed or put down by their partner through cellphones and texting.*

While parents think they know what’s going on, they may not. A 2009 survey of parents conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited found the following:

  • Three in four parents say they have had a conversation with their teen about what it means to be in a healthy relationship, but 75 percent of sons and 66 percent of daughters say they have not had a conversation about dating abuse with a parent in the past year.*
  • Of the teens in abusive relationships, fewer than one in three confide in their parents about the abuse.*
  • While 82 percent of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, more than 58 percent of them could not correctly identify all of the warning signs of abuse.*

*Complete findings, including cited sources for these statistics can be found on the Futures Without Violence website. Access the page by clicking here.