On Wednesday, USA Today cited unpublished data from a nationwide survey on teen dating violence that suggest more than a third of teens admit to being physically, emotionally or sexually abused in relationships.
The findings were presented at a meeting of the American Psychological Association, and FOX 9 News spoke with Carol Arthur, executive director of Domestic Abuse Project, about the numbers -- which she says are not surprising and do reflect trends found in Minnesota.
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Teens, like adults, sometimes have trouble recognizing that they are in an abusive relationship, experts say. Warning signs include when a partner:
- Checks your cellphone or e-mail without permission
- Constantly puts you down
- Is extremely jealous or insecure
- Has an explosive temper
- Isolates you from family or friends
- Makes false accusations
- Physically hurts you in any way
- Tells you what to do
- Repeatedly pressures you to have sex
Q: Has it gotten worse over the years, or has there always been violence like this in teens' dating? I ask you this question because it seems like every teen is into social media these days and that tends to throw gas on a lot of fires.
A: Absolutely. We haven't had a lot of really hard data, but what we do know is that domestic violence is supported and encouraged by societal environment. We certainly have a lot more explicit violence in our society now. There are lots of views for teens of what's a normal relationship. You take a look at Rihanna and Chris Brown that are presented as "these are model relationships" and look at the violence that's being perpetrated in some of these relationships. Our teens nowadays see this kind of behavior as normal in a dating relationship.
Q: Someone out there, if they are hesitant about asking for help, where can they go for help? What should they do?
A: There are many, many resources out there. I would like to suggest a couple of websites:
The statewide number in Minnesota is 1-866-223-1111.