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When Teen Dating Turns Abusive and Violent
Date:5/10/2013

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- When teens start dating, parents' worries grow -- and experts say that dating violence should be on their list of concerns.

"Dating violence happens, and it's more common than we think," said Dr. Yolanda Evans, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the division of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital. "We need to talk to teens about it."

Nearly 10 percent of teenagers experience some form of violence in their dating relationships, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dating violence encompasses physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the CDC notes. Physical acts include such things as hitting, shoving, pinching and kicking Emotional abuse could be threatening a dating partner or harming the person's self-worth by bullying, shaming, name-calling or isolating him or her from friends and family. Sexual abuse involves forcing someone into sexual activity that he or she doesn't want to participate in and includes sexual activity teens can't consent to because they've been drugged.

Beyond the immediate effects of violent relationships, longer-range impacts loom. A study in the January issue of Pediatrics found that teens who had experienced dating violence were more likely to binge drink, smoke, have depression symptoms, think about suicide and experience additional intimate partner violence than were their peers who'd never experienced dating violence.

Teens who've been abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend are also more likely to do poorly at school, to experiment with drugs and to have an eating disorder, according to the CDC. Those abused in high school are more apt to be abused in college as well.

Often, though, abusive behavior starts with teasing and name-calling, which teens may see as a normal part of a relationship but which, according to the CDC, can lead to more s
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