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      TEEN DATING VIOLENCE                             VICTIMS IN RURAL OHIO
           Signs of Violence                                           Special Challenges
             Recent Studies                                              Escape Routes
            Are you a victim?                               Help is Available within Your Reach
           What you can do
       If you are being abusive...
           How to help a friend
More resource: Dating Violence Resource Center
(@ the National Center for Victims of Crime)

Ohio Elder Abuse Task Force Report by Ohio Attorney General (2005)

(ACTION OHIO is a member of Ohio Elder Abuse Task Force.)
More resource:
National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)


Signs of Violence in a Dating Relationship                                    Back to top
Violence in a relationship can take many forms:

  • It usually starts with verbal abuse. Mean words and insults can hurt as much as sticks and stones.

  • The verbal abuse may take place in public – in front of your friends, your family, and others.

  • A teenage male may insist that guys are always in charge, always call the shots.

  • It’s the way things are supposed to be.

  • There may be threats – “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll  . . . .”

  • Prized personal possessions may be damaged, destroyed or may disappear.

  • The violence may get physical – slapping, hitting and more.

  • There may be sexual violence – unwanted sexual advances and even date rape.

Studies Document Incidence of Violence in Teen Dating Relationships
                                                                                                       Back to top
Two recent studies document that many U.S. teenagers experience violence in their dating relationships.
Liz Claiborne, Inc. & the Empower Program (Washington, D.C.)
Based on interviews with teenagers ranging in age from 14 through 17, researchers learned that 30% of teenage girls can identify another teenager who was physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Aside from the physical abuse, teens also experience other forms of abuse, such as verbal abuse, isolation from friends, being monitored as to what they’re doing and where they’re going, and even control regarding their choice of clothing.
More on Liz Claiborne Teen Dating Violence Program
Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey
One in five female high school students in the study admitted to being physically or sexually abused by her boyfriend.
Teen violence is often associated with the use of tobacco, substance abuse, unhealthy weight control, risky sexual behavior (multiple sexual partners, unprotected sex), sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and suicide attempts.

Are You a Victim?                                                                         Back to top

  • Is your boyfriend or girlfriend jealous when you pay attention to or spend time with your other friends?

  • Does your boyfriend or girlfriend check up on you all the time?

  • Does your boyfriend or girlfriend order you around?

  • Does your boyfriend or girlfriend laugh at your ideas and opinions?

  • When there’s a decision to be made, does your boyfriend or girlfriend always have to get his or her way?

  • Do you feel like you’re being controlled all the time?

  • Do your friends and family dislike your boyfriend or girlfriend? Do they object to the way you are being treated?

  • Do you feel afraid at times when you’re with him or her?

  • Do you feel pressured to get serious about the relationship before you’re ready?

  • Does your boyfriend or girlfriend put pressure on you to have sex?

  • Do you get blamed when he or she mistreats you? “If you didn’t always . . . ., I wouldn’t have to hurt you.”

  • Do you fear what might happen if you broke up?

What You Can Do:                                                                          Back to top

  • Take care of yourself – get safe. Have your calls screened. Arrange to have a friend you trust go places with you. Plan to meet in public places. Avoid being alone with no escape routes.

  • Spend time with your friends. Talk to someone you trust and share your concerns. Ask for support. Don’t keep your family in the dark. They could be there for you when you need help the most.

  • Change the dynamics. Rehearse in front of the mirror or with a friend. Demand respect, calmly and matter of factly. Don’t be taken in by tears or apologies.

  • Get help from someone in authority. Teacher. Youth group leader. School counselor. Coach.

  • You don’t deserve to be abused!

If You Are Being Abusive:                                                               Back to top

  • Talk to someone you trust about your anger and your need to control.

  • If you love someone, violence isn’t the way to show it.

  • A healthy relationship requires mutual respect.

  • Being angry and demanding turns everyone off.

  • Seek help from a counselor or a mentor or other adult, before your behavior limits your potential for success in the future.

How to Help a Friend                                                                      Back to top

  • Make time to talk with your friend. Break the silence about your suspicions. Tell your friend that you’re worried about her or him. Encourage your friend to talk about the situation.

  • If your friend does open up, listen and be supportive. Understand that you may have to offer your help repeatedly before she or he will take it.

  • If your friend reveals that she or he wants the violence to stop, help her or him make a plan to stop the abuse and be safe.

  • Look for services in the community that might be helpful to your friend. The situation may require professional assistance.

  • The situation may even require that law enforcement get involved – if someone is truly in danger.

  • Don’t take chances – someone’s safety may be at stake.


Victims Face Special Challenges in Rural Ohio.                            Back to top

  • Abusers typically isolate victims – by limiting their activity out of the home, by denying them resources of cash and transportation and by creating a wedge between victims and their families and friends.

  • Victims in rural Ohio may have the benefit of wide open spaces and a breathtaking view of the hills and the sunset, but no one to hear them cry or see the bruises after violence has broken the silence.

  • Victims in rural Ohio may face extra risks because the abuser may be a hunter and have guns and rifles in the home.

  • Victims in rural Ohio may be suffering more than their city cousins from the economic downturn. The abuser or victim may be laid off from a job. There may be only one vehicle to be shared.

  • Victims in rural Ohio may not often have the chance to meet a neighbor, a friend or a family member. Often abusers refuse to participate in family reunions or routine social gatherings and prevent victims from doing so as well.

  • Everyone knows everyone in rural Ohio. Everyone’s related to everyone in rural Ohio. Who could a victim trust? Maybe the victim is the newcomer and the abuser is everyone’s old friend.

  • There are fewer services available in rural Ohio – fewer doctors, fewer dentists, fewer counselors, and fewer agencies to offer intervention from abuse.

Victims Stay Strong in Rural Ohio – There Are Escape Routes.      Back to top

  • Victims may have no witness to their abuse, but they can record events in a journal, kept in a secret space.

  • Victims may spend long periods isolated at home, but each time they appear in public, there are opportunities for eye contact and careful communication of sorts.

  • Victims may have few chances to talk and mingle with other people, but they can use routine check-ups, school conferences and church meetings to build connections to potential lifesavers.

  • When the Headstart Bus comes for the children, victims have another link with the outside world and a chance to send a message, to ask for help.

  • A visit to the Department of Job and Family Services may be an opportunity to let someone know that you need help.

  • If bruises require a visit to the Emergency Room, victims may find a sympathetic listener, who suspects that help is needed.

  • Victims may have almost no time when they are not being monitored, but they can begin to research services they need and professionals who want to help them.

  • Victims may have the opportunity to meet with mental health professionals, to seek help for depression and other issues caused by abuse.

Help Is Available – It Is Within Your Reach.                                    Back to top

  • Every county in Ohio is served by a domestic violence agency. Find shelter near you.

  • Every shelter or safe house agency has a crisis line in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many crisis lines are toll free or are local calls.

  • Most domestic violence shelters communicate regularly and work together. If necessary, they help victims find shelter out of their home county, farther away from their abuser.

  • Protection orders are recognized in every county and across state lines – it’s the law.

  • Domestic violence service providers believe you when you share your story of abuse.

  • Domestic violence shelter staff will keep your confidences – they know how important it is.

  • Staff persons at domestic violence shelters care about your children and are sensitive to the trauma that they also have experienced.

  • Domestic violence victim advocates are experienced with the court system, and they will use their knowledge and know-how to help you break free.

  • Domestic violence agencies and some prosecutors’ offices provide victim advocates to accompany victims to court.

  • Domestic violence agencies across Ohio work together to help victims and their children be safe. Victims and children may travel several counties or across the state to escape their abuser.

  • Victims and their children don’t have to pay rent to stay at a shelter or safe house.

  • Victims and their children who leave home with few of their belongings are provided with all the necessities when they arrive at a shelter or safe house.

  • While victims stay at a shelter or safe house, the staff may assist them in obtaining legal referrals and representation.

  • Some domestic violence agencies assist victims in obtaining their GED or job training or career counseling.

  • Some domestic violence agencies assist victims in locating transitional housing and a variety of services they may need.

© 2016 ACTION OHIO Coalition For Battered Women  All Rights Reserved.
PO Box 423, Worthington OH 43085-0423 | Phone 614.825.0551 | Toll Free 1.888.622.9315 | E-mail