I was 14 when we started dating. He was 17. Dominic was his name.
He was tall and confident. So nice and respectful. He didn’t even kiss me on the first date. He wrote songs for me. He thought I was smart, young, and pretty. But he fooled me.
One day I was looking at his texts and he yelled at me. Slapped me. Threw things at me from around the room. Grabbed my neck and started choking me.
We didn’t talk for a week. I felt so lonely. Then he came over to my house and apologized. He felt so bad. We started hanging out again.
I stopped going to school. We’d spend all day at his house or in my room. He was overly nice for a while. But then he told me to shut up in a really nasty way. He shoved me. He was really mean.
That’s when I broke up with him. But when I went home, he wasn’t there. I felt so alone.
He wrote me a letter. We started talking again. He wasn’t being pushy. He was being sweet. So I stayed the night. We got back together. I’ve been on the lookout for abusive behavior. To make sure he’s not back to his abusive way.
I want to be with him. It’s just that I want the abuse to stop.
Violent teen dating relationships can start normal but can evolve into physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological aggression, or stalking. Many teens don’t report what’s going on because they want to protect the abuser, or they’re afraid to tell someone.
The likelihood for dating violence increases for teens who:
- Experience stressful life events
- Show symptoms of trauma (e.g., history of sexual abuse)
- Come from disadvantaged homes or receive child protective services
- Use drugs or alcohol
- Begin dating early
- Participate in sexual activity before they turn 16
- Have problem behaviors in other areas
- Have a friend involved in dating violence
- Have been exposed to harsh parenting or inconsistent discipline
- Lack supervision, monitoring, and warmth
- Have low self-esteem
Learn more risk factors for victims of teen dating violence by visiting https://youth.gov/youth-topics/teen-dating-violence.