In publication since 1991, Wrangler News is distributed free every other Saturday to more than 18,000 homes in the Kyrene Corridor area of South Tempe and West Chandler, and is supported by local and regional advertisers.

  Search past and present issues of the Wrangler
    Site search Web search                       
   powered by
Classifieds Contact Us Links Media Kit Make a Payment Previous Issues

Back Home Forward


By: Alex Zener   

June 28, 2008   

Students at Corona del Sol High School are close to the national average when it comes to statistics pinpointing teen dating violence.

According to a Bureau of Justice Special Report, 40 percent of high school students say they know someone their age who has already experienced some type of violence during a dating relationship.

Typically, in dating violence, one partner tried to maintain power and control over the other through some type of abuse.

Although most victims are young women, dating violence can be found in all racial, social and economic groups, as well as among both sexes and age categories.

Dating violence can include verbal and physical violence and forced sex. In an informal random survey taken at Corona, 37 per cent of the respondents knew someone who had experienced some type of teen dating violence.

One of the main problems with teen violence is that teenagers frequently do not realize they are in an impending volatile situation until it is too late.

Teenagers can often choose better relationships if they are able to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship. So how do you recognize behavior in a date that may eventually lead to aggressive or abusive actions?

According to the experts, there are several signs that can help teens identify the potential for date violence in others.

For example, does the person you are dating get extremely jealous and angry when you go out with or talk to others? More than 75 percent of Corona respondents said they were either dating or had dated someone who expressed this type of behavior.

“One of my friends could not go out with anyone unless she constantly told him where she was and what she was doing,” said one Corona teen.

Another behavior that should make you think twice about dating a person has to do with privacy. When asked if they were dating or had dated someone who violated their privacy by reading their notes to or from someone and/or went through their backpacks, purses or other things without permission, 80 percent of the Corona respondents said they had.

“He looked through my cell phone without my permission,” one respondent said. “He was trying to read my text messages when I caught him.”

Other warning signs include constantly checking up on you, unpredictable mood swings and trying to make you choose between him/her and your friends and/or family.

Think twice about dating someone who has ever held you down, pushed, hit, kicked or thrown something at you.

The fact that only 10 percent of Corona respondents answered yes to this physical abuse warning sign is not surprising.

Teenagers often do not admit to violence in a relationship because they are inexperienced with dating relationships, are pressured by peers to act violently or are seeking independence from their parents.

“One time we broke up and she jumped me after school,” said one Corona teenager about his current girlfriend. “I was frightened by her sudden change in behavior.”

“I had to be constantly on the lookout for this one girl because she kept throwing things at me after we broke up,” said another Corona student.

“I seemed to run into her everywhere I went.”

Threatening violence or doing something to your car, house or property after a breakup is another sign. Surprisingly, 30 percent of the Corona respondents said this had happened to them in a current or past relationship.

“I never knew what I was going to find when I went out to get in my car,” wrote one Corona teen. “Several times my car was egged or had creepy messages written on the windows. I had to start driving my mom’s car to school to keep her away.”

Be wary of someone who says he or she can’t live without you, and imposes restrictions on the way you dress or your appearance.

Stay clear of someone who humiliates you by putting you down in private or in front of others, blames others for his/her problems or feelings, threatens suicide if you leave him/her or you find yourself unable to disagree with them.

Dating someone who harasses you after you break up by following you, showing up uninvited, spreading rumors about you and/or makes prank phone calls is a warning sign that 47 percent of the Corona respondents identified in their present or past relationships.

Once a teenager gets involved in an abusive relationship, it is often hard for them to get out. Sometimes they fear for their personal safety or they don’t want anyone to know.

It may be, once again, that they don’t recognize they are in a potentially abusive situation.

Parents and other adults can help by looking for these clues that may indicate if a teenager is experiencing dating violence:

Physical signs of injury; truancy; dropping out of school; failing grades; indecision; changes in mood or personality; use of drugs or alcohol; emotional outburst; and isolation.

If you or someone you know is in a potentially abusive relationship, there are several ways to get help in ending the relationship.

First, seek help from family, a teacher or other adult that you can trust. You can also go to a local domestic violence program for help but it may be easier to call someone who specializes in teen dating violence such as the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline available 24 hours at day at 1-866-331-9474.

Here you can talk one-on-one with a trained peer advocate who can offer support and connect you to resources seven days a week.

You can also chat online with trained experts who can discuss your options from 2 p.m. to midnight at

If you break up with someone and he or she continues to harass or follow you, take legal action such as a restraining order or assault charges to protect yourself and your family.

In addition, you should think ahead about ways to protect yourself if you are in a dangerous or potentially dangerous relationship.

Design your own safety plan around these key strategies:

What people at school can you tell in order to be safe such as teachers, principals, counselors and security?

Consider changing your school locker and your route to and from school.

Find someone as a buddy for going to school, classes, and after school activities.

Think about what friends you can tell to help you remain safe.

If you are stranded somewhere, who could you call?

Keep a journal describing the abuse.

Think about where you could go quickly to get away from an abusive person.

The best way to date safely and avoid teen violence is to consider utilizing a few safety strategies before dating a new person.

First, consider double dating on the first few dates.

Make sure you know the exact plans for the evening and make sure a parent or friend also knows the plans too before you leave.

Realize that alcohol and drugs reduce your ability to react.

Before leaving a party with someone you do not know well, be sure to tell another person all the details.

Be firm and straightforward in your relationships and trust your instincts.

If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, remain calm and come up with a plan to remove yourself from the scene

Keep in mind that statistics show that approximately 40 percent of date-rape victims are young women from 14 to 17 years of age and that more than half of the young women raped knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend or causal acquaintance.

Six out of 10 rapes of young women occur in their own home or a friend or relative’s home and not in some dark alley or the back seat of a car.

Last but not least, approximately seven percent of all murder victims in 2002 were young women who were killed by their boyfriends.

Studies also show that female abuse against their male dates is on the rise.

If you realize after reading this article that you are in an abusive relationship, take steps to help yourself get out by telling your parents or another trusted adult.

If that seems too difficult, call one of the teen help lines listed in this article or go online to chat with a trained professional in dealing with teen dating violence at  . Before dating anyone new, come up with a plan to keep yourself safe until you get to know your date better.



Photo by David Stone


web site hit counter