Safe Dating Tips for Teens

February is teen dating violence awareness month. For teens and those new to dating, it can be difficult to identify signs of an abusive relationship. The warning signs that a teen has been sexually assaulted or abused can easily blend in with the everyday struggles teens face as they learn how to relate to their bodies, peers, and environment.

“With dating violence, early warning signs often begin with behaviors that are not physically violent,” said Jodi Omear, vice president of communications at RAINN. “These behaviors may violate a person’s boundaries, be emotionally abusive, or otherwise controlling.”

Demanding to know their partner’s location at all times, controlling their appearance or behaviors, refusing to use contraceptives or STI protection during sexual activity, or forcing drug or alcohol use—these are all signs of an abusive relationship.

With many aspects of relationships, especially for teens and young adults, taking place over text, Snapchat, Instagram, and online dating apps, knowing how to spot warning signs for dating violence through these platforms and staying safe on social media is more important than ever. When it comes to online communications, small controlling behaviors may not seem to be high risk, but they can quickly escalate into emotionally abusive behavior or physical abuse if you meet in-person.

Check out RAINN’s resources for more information on how to stay safe online and identify potentially abusive behavior:

Seven out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim.

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