The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be part of the solution to end relationship violence

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The Statistics:

  • Nearly 1 in 3 teens who have been in relationships have experienced the most serious forms of dating violence and abuse including sexual abuse, physical abuse, or threats of physical harm to a partner or self. 
  • 1 in 3 teens reports knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped or physically hurt by their dating partner. 
  • 2 in 5 tweens (ages 11-14) in relationships know friends who have been verbally abused –called names, put down, or insulted – via cell phone, IM, social networking sites (like MySpace and Facebook), etc.
  • 57% of teens know someone who has been physical, sexually, or verbally abusive in a relationship. 
  • Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.2


Who is involved?

  • Abuser
  • Victim
  • Bystander (Witness)

What is teen dating violence?

  • One person repeatedly threatens to or actually acts in a way that verbally, physically, emotionally or sexually injures their partner;
  • The hurtful behavior is done more than once or repeatedly; and
  • One person is afraid of and intimidated by the other.

Where does teen dating violence happen?

  • In-person, face-to-face
  • Online or using technology

What are the warning signs that someone might be in an abusive relationship?

  • Decrease in self-esteem since entering the relationship.
  • The interests, values and desires of her/his partner dominate the relationship.
  • Her/his partner is using name calling, threats, intimidation, insults, manipulation, physical or sexual abuse.
  • Her/his partner feels entitled to be in control and always decides how things will be.
  • S/he is afraid to break up; her/his partner will not let her/him leave.
  • S/he no longer spends time with friends and only spends time with her/his partner.
  • S/he receives constant text messages and/or phone calls from her/his partner.

How do I help someone who is in an abusive relationship?


  • Take any form of abuse seriously
  • Tell them they do not deserve the abuse
  • Be a good listener
  • Help them create a safety plan
  • Give options NOT advice
  • Let them make their own decisions
  • Seek professional help or a trusted adult

How do I get out of an abusive relationship?


  • Tell someone. Especially If you are being physically or sexually abused and do not feel safe, it is important to tell someone immediately.

  • Document or journal the abuse (e.g., save text messages, emails, notes, or voicemails that are abusive or threatening)

  • Talk to a trusted adult.

  • Work with adults and friends to make a safety plan.

  • If you’ve decided to break-up, consider doing so in a public place or not breaking-up face-to-face (i.e., phone call, text message or email). Tell friends and family so they can support you.

Web Resources:

24-hour Hotlines:

  • The Family Place Domestic Violence Hotline: 214.941.19991
  • Love is Respect National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1.800.331.9474
  • Teen CONTACT Help Line: 972.233.8336