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Nearly 1 in 9 female high school students reported experiencing sexual violence from a partner in the past year.

An alarming number of teenagers are victims of dating partner violence in the U.S. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 9 female high school students reported experiencing sexual violence from a partner in the last year, while 1 in 11 reported physical violence.

A smaller but still significant number of boys reported being harmed by a partner. One in 15 male high school students said they experienced physical violence, while 1 in 36 reported sexual violence. 

As part of Teen Dating Awareness Month, Arizona groups are helping spread information about the signs of teen dating violence and how it can be prevented. 

The Governor’s Office on Youth, Faith, and Family says its Teen Dating Violence Prevention Committee is distributing T-shirts, ribbons, and other items to local schools this month to bring awareness to the issue. 

Additionally, the Arizona Department of Economic Safety is distributing tips for both victims and parents of victims to help them identify potentially dangerous relationships.

How to Recognize an Abusive Partner

According to Peoria-based nonprofit Bloom365, red flags for an abusive partner include: 

  • Wanting to get serious too quickly
  • Humiliating a partner or calling them names
  • Treating a partner better when other people are around
  • Repeatedly calling or texting a partner to check up on them
  • Demanding passwords to partner’s social media and other accounts
  • Denying and blaming partner for abusive behavior

Five behaviors that increase a victim’s risk of being seriously hurt or killed, according to Bloom365, are: 

  • Using or threatening to use a gun, knife, or other weapon on a partner
  • Threatening to kill partner or him- or herself if the relationship ends
  • Choking or strangling a partner
  • Forcing a partner to have sex or physically assaulting them
  • Feeling violently or constantly jealous

How to Help Teens in an Abusive Relationship

The Arizona Department of Economic Security shared some tips from LoveIsRespect.org that offers some advice for parents who believe their children may be experiencing an abusive relationship. Those tips include:

  • Listening to teens and asking how to best support them
  • Accepting what a teen is saying rather than showing signs of skepticism
  • Instead of talking about abusers, focus on how their behavior makes victims feel
  • Helping victims identify safe options and decide on next steps together

Anyone who is or knows someone experiencing abuse can call the National Teen Dating Violence Hotline at 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911.