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Teen Romance Is Rife With Abuse

A surprising and fairly depressing article from Reuters earlier this week examines two recent studies on adolescent romantic relationships in conjunction with physical and emotional abuse. Both studies, one online survey completed by Liz Claiborne Inc. and the other conducted by Christian Forke of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, make references to the high rates of violence in preteen and teen relationships.

Clairborne's study makes a strong connection between abuse and early sexual activity, while Forke's findings iterate that emotional abuse can lead to other kinds of abuse later on. As noted in the article:

Forke found emotional violence — which includes verbal abuse and subjecting a partner to controlling behavior and put-downs — was the most common type of violence at all ages, especially before college. Forke surveyed students at three urban colleges and found nearly 45 percent had experienced relationship violence before or during college.

Abuse is never OK, but when coupled with youth and love, I imagine it can be especially damaging, specifically in regards to future relationships. While I certainly hope none of us experienced abuse as teenagers in love, I wonder: Did your early relationships affect your future or current relationships? Were your youthful love affairs positive or negative experiences?


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Janine22 Janine22 8 years
My high school bf was my first serious relationship and he cheated on me with his ex. It really affected my ability to trust men, even today. My luckily my fiance is a total sweetheart who wouldn't even think about cheating on me.
penguins268 penguins268 8 years
Hmm...makes me glad I'm not or have ever been in a relationship. Maybe it's better that I'm a "late-bloomer." PS I'm 17 too radishsalad.
looseseal looseseal 8 years
I wonder if at least some of this is the results of lack of adequate sex ed. I remember we had to watch a bunch of videos about consent and date-rape and whatnot, and it seemed really lame at the time, but it was very important to learn. I'm amazed at how many people technically reach adulthood nowadays and still have this idea that when your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to do some kind of sexual thing (anything from kissing with tongue to bj to intercourse), you're supposed to just do it whether you really want to or not because that's your "duty" as a gf or bf. One time I tried to bring up consent, and it's like I'M the weird one. Apparently there's no such thing as consent in a relationship, if you don't "just do it", it means you don't love the other person, or there's something wrong with you (as in sick, weird, or "frigid"). Apparently, at the very least, you're duty-bound to do a bj to get the other person off. WTF is wrong with these people? Have no one heard of masturbation? Or are kids these days led to believe that masturbation is gross and leads to hairy palms? (attention lurking kids... no it's not gross, and no you won't end up with hairy palms.) (those kids these days... god I'm so old already at mid-twenties... heeheehee)
italianblonde italianblonde 8 years
This is so sad. My young sister has not only been in one abusive relationship, but EVERY guy she's dated has verbally and physically abused her. I know she has self esteem issues and it hurts to know she told me that she thinks abuse is normal. I don't want anyone to ever think that, though a lot of guys are complete assholes, there's no excuse for any kind of abuse!!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
A couple of guys I dated in college were abusive -- manipulative, controlling, malicious, etc. Looking back, I think they had personality disorders (or at least borderline). They both ended up in therapy, which was good. I was young at the time. And naive. I kept forgiving and reconciling with them, and accepted their empty promises and apologies. But truth be told, I learned a lot from those troubled relationships. Because of those experiences, I could spot a toxic man a mile away. I head for the other direction. :) I think Benjamin Franklin once said,"Those things that hurt, instruct." So true. :)
Meike Meike 8 years
Like CJmara has mentioned, physical and emotional abuse is motivated by insecurities and since most teenagers are pretty much the most insecure creatures to walk the earth i.e. they should not even be seriously dating at that age or dating at all, save for the few who are mature enough to handle relationships. Furthermore, you haven't grown into yourself completely until you've left high school and gain some perspective on the world and the ability to be self-sufficient. The first time I started dating I was 21 years old. Even then, I was still trying to find out who I was and what I wanted. After doing that, I could become more secure with myself and recognize wrong behavior from men.
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 8 years
I never dated when I was younger. However, I don't think all guys are jerks. Sure, they may be immature, but I believe that the jerks in middle school will still be jerks in high school and college (i.e. certain frat guys didn't start sweet then turned bad).
RadishSalad RadishSalad 8 years
Well, I'm only 17-years old! I'm very thankful to not have been in an abusive relationship yet. I don't plan on being in a different relationship any time soon, so I should be good. :] I have a friend who was in an abusive relationship, though. They were dating for almost 4 years in high school and one day they got into a little fight and he forced her to have sex. :[ I felt so bad for her because she was so in love with him and she still is. They broke up and she found someone new, I think she's gonna be okay. I was friends with the boy and I almost didn't believe what she told be because he seems like such a good kid. And he's fairly quiet too. Anyway. Abusive relationships suck and I hope I don't get myself into any.
alliallialli alliallialli 8 years
I experienced emotional abuse during one of my high school relationships, and it's still affecting my attitudes towards relationships now. The guy I dated was very controlling, and constantly compared me unfavorably to his exes to try to manipulate me into acting how he wanted. Unfortunately I was very insecure at the time, and bought into the whole thing, assuming that there was something wrong with ME and not HIM. After breaking up of course I found out he was cheating on me the whole time. So, with every boyfriend since then I've been paranoid about being inadequate.. it is rather sucky.
zabrow zabrow 8 years
i dated young. my first boyfriend lasted from freshman year of high school up until right before i left for college. i definitely lucked out with him. he was sweet, honest, sensitive guy & not pushy or controlling at all. just a really, really great guy all around... but it could have easily gone the other way if i'd just happened to date someone else since i didn't know any different, really.
Blackwood Blackwood 8 years
All of my friends but one had fallen for this kind of sh*t. They had messed up, controlling, drug addict boyfriends, which treated them like dirt, and they put up with it because they seriously believed that when you're are in a relationship "that's they way things are". I know this sounds sick, but I believe that it takes two to tango here. Their guys were sick but my friends also had some deep issues, because I don't think a healthy person with a normal level of self-esteem stays in an abusive relationship or let themselves be treated like trash and put up with it with a smile on their faces. It's sad, this generation is so screwed up in so many ways.
cjmara805 cjmara805 8 years
Makes sense since a lot of abuse is caused by insecurities, and what's a better age to be totally insecure than in your teens? And my only boyfriend that I had in high school was like that, extremely emotionally abusing (jealous, called me names, etc.) I got out of that relationship really quickly!
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
NO real dating until he/she is 18 when i have children.
merie33 merie33 8 years
My first boyfriend at 16 (against my mothers knowledge and wishes), was extremely controlling. He was also very pushy when it came to sexual things. At the time I put up with it, and I really hate myself at times for it now. My current boyfriend (the next after the previous jerk) was very understanding when we started dating, because I was pretty scarred and unsure about things because of him. I realize now that he was a mistake, and I know better now than to let someone control me like that, but at the time, I didn't have the nerve to stand up to him. Some youthful relationships are great, just young fun puppy love, but at the same time I think that there's too much stress and drama involved in them for a person who's still trying to find themselves to handle well.
mnp mnp 8 years
I dated at a young age and while the first two bf's were great guys but the 3rd bf, which I dated at 19, was an abusive guy. I was too stubborn and blinded by love to see what a mess it was. Bransugar79 - I think it's sometimes just dumb luck that you end up falling in love with an abusive loser.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
I agree bransugar79. I guess I am still a youth now, lol, I'm in college. I never really dated until I was in college though b/c I was really shy and innocent type person and it just didn't happen. But like bransugar, I feel like that was a good thing, I didn't have to deal with all that pointless drama and craziness, and from my perspective now, I def. know I wasn't ready for any kind of real relationship then! I actually still think I'm in the "negative youthful love affairs" lol. Wish I was past this point, haha.
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
I wasn't really allowed to date at an early age because my mom was more strict. Seeing things like this article makes me feel like maybe she knew what she was doing. I think a lot of the problem is that kids seem to be getting into full fledged relationships when they haven't even learned how to deal with their own emotions yet. It's not all that surprising then that abuse in these relationships is prevalent. I can imagine that a young woman who hasn't really found her stride and hasn't fully developed a sense of self worth makes an easy target for some one who lacks respect for himself or anyone else and thus ends up being verbally or worse physically abusive. I think if I am ever blessed with children I will probably limit their relationship prospects too. I think it's important to take the time to teach your children how relationships really work and what they should and shouldn't expect and accept from others. Maybe if more people had higher standards for themselves they wouldn't have to endure this type of treatment
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I think at this point in their lives kids are seeing a lot of their relationships on TV and in movies where there is a lot of abuse. I think that while it should never be tolerated in a relationship, a lot of kids really just don't know any better and think this is what a relationship is supposed to be like. It's really sad and we should know to watch our for our teens.
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