Teen dating violence and sexual assault is estimated to occur between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth at about the same rate as in straight teen relationships.(NCAVP, 2001; Dahir, 1999) However, LGBTQ youth are even less likely than heterosexual youth to tell anyone or seek help, and there are fewer resources for these teens.Teen dating violence can be very dangerous - sometimes lethal.
Since upper middle class individuals are often less likely to seek services from a public agency, they are not included in these stats.
In low income groups, there is often decreased access to resources which can be a barrier to leaving an abusive relationship.
Teen dating violence is as common as domestic violence in adult relationships.
A 2001 study of high school students conducted by Harvard University found that one in five teenage girls had been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
Teens experiencing dating violence usually tell no one. One study found that only 6% of girls and 11% of boys told anyone about the abuse that they experienced (O'Keefe and Treister, 1998).
Middle school, high school, and college age women experience a higher rate of rape than any other group.
*World Health Organization, Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence, (2013); **Catalano, Shannan. An individual’s size, strength, politics or personality does not determine whether she or he could be abused or an abuser. and the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (2008); CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (February 2008); and Silverman et al. Not all abusers drink and not all people who drink are abusive. See What Causes Relationship Abuse for more information.
In our still largely homophobic society, the threat of “outing” someone who is not ready can be used to isolate and silence a person who is experiencing relationship abuse. Violence often continues even after an abuser stops drinking. top of page Personality disorders, mental illness, poor impulse control, and generational abuse do not cause relationship abuse.
Educate yourself and others to end teen dating abuse.
By raising awareness, speaking up, helping a friend at risk and acting as an engaged bystander, we can work together to help teens recognize the warning signs and have healthy dating relationships.
There are studies that report that there is more abuse in low-income populations and there are studies that report that there is more abuse in higher-income populations.