Abuse in teen relationships is a serious -though often underrepresented- problem

Healthy relationships consist of two partners helping, guiding, supporting, and lifting one another up. Some relationships are built off of trust, while others are built off of kindness. Healthy relationships in young people can reduce stress, bring a person happiness, or provide a safe place to be and learn about yourself. However, it is not all black and white. Abuse and domestic violence in adolescence relationships are and have been very common.

According to www.loveisrespect.org, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. “This is not surprising. I think it’s not something people hear about because no one speaks up and the abuser doesn’t normally get in trouble, says senior Amber Zimmerman. To many students, this is not a surprise. Many students haven’t heard much about this or just believe the victims stay quiet, and in fact this is true. According to a study done at the Center for Court Innovation, 80 percent of girls who are physically abused in their intimate relationship continue to date their abuser.

Growing up is a part of life that is extremely important. It is how “tweens” become “teens” and how “teens” become adults. Part of the dynamic of growing up is finding yourself, gaining self confidence, and discovering what you need in order to have a successful future. Sadly, teens who indulge themselves into unhealthy and abusive relationships are subject to long-term consequences. According to www.loveisrespect.org, people in abusive relationships are at higher risk of developing alcoholism, eating disorders, and thoughts of suicide. “My personal experiences have definitely shaped who I am, how I act and the morals I have today,” says senior  Jillian Bowe.

According to www.dosomething.org, 8 states in the U.S. do not consider a violent dating relationships to be domestic abuse. This could make it very difficult to apply for a restraining order to protect from their abusers. The coverage of violent teen relationships is also underrepresented, further putting the issue in the shadows. For instance, the New York Kings County District Attorney’s Office, states that “…domestic violence cases against teen defendants resulted in dismissals approximately 77 percent of the time.” Sadly, this proves the fact that the criminal justice system really do not show that they care.

Additionally, the development of teenagers and their family life does impact what they do themselves. The National Institute of Justice stated that, “children of alcoholic parents, given their increased exposure to marital violence and higher risk for other negative outcomes (e.g., aggression, poor self-regulation, substance use), may be especially at risk for involvement in teen dating violence.”

There is a stigma about teen dating violence in America. Awareness is important, because one out of every 10 high school students have been hit, slapped, or assaulted by a boyfriend or girlfriend (loveisrespect.org). Therefore, humans must come together to teach positively about consent, acceptance, and healthy relationships. Victims don’t need shame and judgement, they need support and encouragement to step forward about their experiences. “Anyone who goes through these situations needs to hear what they feel is always important. It’s unfair of anyone to tell them otherwise,” says Bowe.