Teen dating abuse leads to violent relationships in adulthood

Gihan Rachid


When 16-year-old Mary imagined a high school sweetheart, she never imagined her experience ending with a gun being pointed to her head in a battle between her boyfriend and the police.

Physical, sexual, psychological/ emotional violence, as well as stalking, happening within a dating relationship is known as teen dating violence.

When looking into the future, we imagine ourselves having moments filled with laughter, love and happiness. Most of us don’t think about a future filled with suicide attempts, drug or alcohol addictions, or physical and emotional scars that teen dating violence can cause.

“When I first got abused by (my boyfriend), I had forgiven him because he told me it was a one time thing and wouldn’t happen again,” said Mary, whose name has been changed to protect her identity.

Personally, while I think love is a beautiful thing, there is no excuse in the entire world I could think of that would result in dating violence to be okay.

In a nationwide survey 9.4% of high school relationships reported of being physically hit on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.

“Our relationship went on for two years. Two years of living in fear and telling myself I deserved every slap in the face, I deserved every threat he made to my family. I told myself to keep my emotions inside and to try my hardest to make him happy,” Mary said.

About 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey).

Even in today’s society role models that people look up to have violent relationships, such as Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice who knocked out his then fiancee Janay Palmer at a casino in Atlantic City. Rice has been charged with third-degree aggravated assault, with a possible jail sentence of three to five years and a fine of up to $15,000. What kind of message is he sending to all his younger fans out there?

With rape culture today, we teach our girls to carry their keys in between their fingers while walking alone in case somebody comes up behind us, we have an easy weapon. We are constantly looking over our shoulder.

With teen dating violence, this fear is inflicted upon ourselves on a daily basis. We focus on the importance of girls learning at an early age on how to protect themselves from any kind of assault, but we often neglect to teach boys that any kind of unwanted touching or any kind of emotional trauma they may offer is not acceptable in any circumstance ever.

“When I finally realized how important my life was, and how I never deserved any kind of physical and emotional pain, I knew I had to end it. With getting the police involved I knew putting this boy behind bars was the best thing to do. Never will I ever put myself in that position ever. I hope and pray nobody ever goes through the painful memories I did,” Mary said.

If you or anybody you know is involved in any kind of teen dating violence or domestic violence go to http://www.loveisrespect.org or call 1-866-331-9474.