Dating and Violence

Dating and Violence

  • Each year, 1.5 million high school students in America face intimate partner violence.

  • Girls and young women between 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence.

  • Violent behavior often starts between the ages of 12 and 18.

  • Teen girls who face intimate partner violence are 6 times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy and twice as likely to contract an STI.

  • Only about a third of teens who are abused tell anyone.

  • Intimate partner violence affects people of all ethnic, socio-economic, religious, and educational backgrounds.

Relationships are often murky and confusing. It is difficult to know when relationships are healthy and when it is time to cut it off. There are signs you should look out for, some red flags that may signify that your relationship is toxic or abusive. 


The first thing to know is that you are not alone. Domestic violence happens to many women and men with an estimated 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experiencing intimate partner violence every year. If your boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, guardian, teacher, coach, sibling or friend are making you feel unsafe or pressuring you into doing things that you do not want to do, reach out for help. There are many resources in Pueblo and around the country to assist and help you.

The second thing to know is that abuse can take many forms. Abuse can be physical, mental/emotional, sexual, financial, or even digital. The effects of all of these kinds of abuse can affect the lives of the victim and those around them.

  • Physical violence can not only include hitting, but can include burns, strangling, and other forms of physical harm. It can also include leaving you in unfamiliar places, hurting your children, pets or family, and forcing you to consume drugs or alcohol.

  • Emotional or mental abuse can include name-calling, threatening you with weapons, threatening to hurt your family, pets or children, and damaging property when they are angry with you. It can also mean keeping you from your friends and family, not showing affection as a form of punishment, demanding constant updates on where you are, and humiliating you. It can also mean abusing you and then telling you that you deserved the abuse. Abuse is never the victim's fault. It is always the fault of the abuser for choosing to abuse.

  • Partners may also try to force or make you have sexual activity. This can include things such as blackmail, pushing, grabbing, and threats of violence. They may force you to have sex, perform oral sex, or watch pornography. They may try to coerce you into dressing in a sexually provocative way, demand sex when you are sick or tired, disregard your feelings about sex and sexual activity, involve other people in your sex life without your consent, or purposefully pass a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) to you.

Power an Control Wheel

Adapted from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, MN.

  • Sometimes, abuse may also be financial. This can include confiscating money from you, depositing your paycheck into an account you do not have access to, forbidding you to work or limiting your work hours, charging things to your credit cards without your permission, stealing money from you or your friends/family, denying you access to your bank accounts, giving you an allowance or monitoring your spending closely, living in your house and refusing to contribute to household expenses, and refusing to give you money for shared expenses such as housing, utilities, transportation or food.

  • Abuse can also mean trapping you into being a parent before you are ready. For example, if your girlfriend says she's on the pill and isn't. Or if your boyfriend refuses to use condoms even though he knows you are not using birth control. It can also mean they sabotage your birth control, poke holes in condoms or destroy your contraceptives without your consent. It can also mean that they force you to have an abortion when you don't want to or prevent you from getting one. They may also threaten you if you do not comply with their wishes about reproduction.


If any of these things sound familiar or you are concerned that you or someone you love may be experiencing domestic abuse, reach out to one of the resources listed below for help. Remember: it is never too late to ask for help if you want it.

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