Just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you can’t be a victim of teen dating abuse. Statistically, girls are more likely to be the victims of teen dating abuse, but boys can be victims, too. In fact, in one study conducted in 2008, 13% of Latino 7th grade boys reported being physically abused by their partner (see source 1 below). About one in ten high school students, 9.8 percent, reported being hit, slapped, punched or in some way physically abused by a partner (see source 2 below).
What these facts point out is that teen dating abuse crosses all genders, races, sexual orientations and economic factors.
You may not want to talk about being abused; you may try to laugh it off if your partner slaps you or yells at you. You may ignore the abusive language, put downs, or stalking behavior and other warning signs of an abusive relationship. You may be afraid to confront the situation or tell someone because you’ll be called a wimp or worse. Just as any girl does not deserve to be abused, neither do you.
Girls can be abusive in subtle ways. A girl may be involved in stalking behavior: constant texting or sexting, following your every move, or showing extreme jealousy. She may be a “diva” demanding that you spend time only with her. She may scratch, hit or slap you when she’s mad or play mind games. Because a girl may not harm you physically doesn’t mean that the abuse should be accepted by you. Any kind of abuse can escalate and it is not acceptable. Learn the Early Warning Signs of Dating Abuse. Read our articles on Defining and Evaluating a Healthy Relationship.
In recent news, teen boys have been the victims of dating abuse. “Teen Mom” Amber Portwood was arrested in December 2010 after hitting her boyfriend during an episode of the reality TV show. She was charged with two counts of domestic battery and one count of neglect of a dependent because her infant child was present at the time of the assault. In July 16-year-old Tremaine Poe was allegedly stabbed to death by his girlfriend after an argument about his dating other girls. The two teens were new parents of a three-week-old son. Friends noted that he had marks on his arms he claimed came from “spats” he’d had with his girlfriend (see source 3 below)
If you are being abused by your partner do not be afraid to tell someone about it. Talk to your parents, a school counselor or spiritual leader. You can also call the National TEEN Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474. Telling someone doesn’t mean you’re weak. Telling someone doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for yourself. Telling someone can help save you from abuse that you don’t deserve.
SOURCES Swahn MH, Simon TR, Arias I & Bossarte RM. 2008. Measuring Sex Differences in Violence Victimization and Perpetration Within Date and Same-Sex Peer Relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2008:23(8):1120-1138.
Eaton DK, Kann L, Kinchen S, et al. 2010. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 59(SS5);1-148. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss5905.pdf.
Hotts, Mitch, “Stabbing victim’s mother said he cared for newborn son, but also wanted to see other girls.” The Macomb Daily online. July 10, 2011.