Violence in entertainment is everywhere and, unfortunately, has been normalized.Teens mimic behaviors they see on screen, so it is not uncommon for teens to think the unhealthy relationships that are portrayed are normal or just a part of life everyone is subject to deal with.
We use the term for the sake of consistency in sharing common language, but there are few important points to be made about this phrase…
is a pattern of actual or threatened acts of physical, sexual, financial, verbal/emotional abuse, sexual or reproductive coercion, social sabotage, and/or sexual harassment perpetrated by an adolescent against a current or former partner or a person with whom the teen has some kind of intimate relationship.
Talking to teens – and making sure both boys and girls understand the importance of trust, respect, and honesty in relationships – can help to lay a foundation for intimate relationships.
Encourage teens to speak to adults with whom they have an admiration and trust.
The AAUW Education Foundation (2001) study defines sexual harassment in this way: In the past many institutions have had a somewhat casual attitude about sexual harassment understanding those behaviors as harmless flirting, or as “kids being kids”.
We recognize that sexual harassment creates a hostile environment for the kids who are victimized and that these behaviors may be a precursor to teen dating or sexual violence among perpetrators.Teen dating violence “includes physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person ages 12 to 18 in the context of a past or present romantic or consensual relationship.” Teen dating violence can be done in person or, with the explosion of social media and telecommunication, electronically.Social media is a hotbed of violent and abusive activity, especially for teenagers who are new to relationships and unsure of how to handle their feelings most appropriately.These include: Teens who are in violent or abusive relationships are also more likely to be in unhealthy or abusive relationships later in life.Many domestic abusers report having been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused as a child or teenager.Here’s a great healthy relationship definition from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (2009): A significant majority of students report experience of sexual harassment.