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Physical and Sexual Dating Violence Among Teens – Are You at Risk?

Written by Evolve's Behavioral Health Content Team​:

Alyson Orcena, LMFT, Melissa Vallas, MD, Shikha Verma, MD, Ellen Bloch, LCSW, Lianne Tendler, LMFT, Megan Johnston, LMFT

Meet The Team >

Are You at Risk of Dating Violence?
Take the Quiz

The following questions are adapted from The Teen Violence Dating Quiz published on the website Teen Violence Statistics. If you think you or one of your friends is in a dangerous or risky relationship, use the following questions to determine if the problem is real.

Note: though dating violence happens to girls more often than boys, it does happen to boys – that’s why this post, and the quiz below, are intentionally gender-neutral.

In the relationship, does the significant other:

  1. Get jealous when you spend time of become friends with other people?
  2. Attempt to control what you wear?
  3. Attempt to control what you do?
  4. Attempt to control who you spend time with?
  5. Try to keep you from doing things you enjoy?
  6. Demand constant contact, such as frequent check-in calls, texts, or instant messages?
  7. Dive into full-on commitment right away?
  8. Profess love after a very short time?
  9. Demand you commit, become exclusive, or profess love after a very short time?
  10. Force or pressure you to do sexual things before you’re ready?
  11. Say things like, “If you loved me, then you’d __________.”
  12. Manipulate you emotionally?
  13. Lash out at you when they’re angry or moody?
  14. Blame you for their moods?
  15. Enjoy rough or dominating types of play, such as wrestling or holding you down?
  16. Act violent or aggressive toward other people you know?
  17. Violently damage objects or property in front of you, in response to your words or actions?
  18. Threaten to arm themselves if you break up with them?
  19. Actually harm themselves when you pull away or ask for space?
  20. Hit, punch, push, grab, restrain, or use physical force against you in any way?

How to Interpret Your Answers

If you, a friend, or a peer answer yes to any of the questions above, your best option is to take an objective look at the relationship to determine if it’s healthy or risky. If you have an adult you trust, talk to them about your answers, even if it’s awkward or uncomfortable. Adults have valuable perspective on these matters that can help you decide what’s dangerous and what’s not. For instance, an immediate profession of love, alone, might not be a red flag. Romance is real, and love at first sight happens. But when combined with yes answers to other questions, an instant “I love you let’s be exclusive!” could be a serious warning sign.

Finally, if anyone ever threatens you with physical violence in a dating/sexual situation, or worse, hits, punches, or uses physical force against you in any way, leave immediately. Find an adult, tell them what happened, and sort things out later, when you’re nowhere near that person. It may be hard to walk away from someone for whom you have strong feelings, but trust us on this one: it’s the best thing you can possibly do.

Our Behavioral Health Content Team

We are an expert team of behavioral health professionals who are united in our commitment to adolescent recovery and well-being.

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