The NYS Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence reports one-third of teens had abuse in their romantic relationship.

“71% of women and 56% of men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking in their intimate relationships before the age of 25,” Kelli Owens, OPDV’s executive director said in an interview with CNY News.

Not all problems categorized as abuse involve physical acts like hitting.

Sometimes “when we look at teen abuse, we’re looking at technology abuse,” Owens said. One person in a relationship “may be using their cell phone to track their partner or looking at the other’s phone and asking for passwords.”

Other red flags include one person in a relationship keeping the other from studying, going to college or achieving their goals.

“There are so many forms of power and control,” Owens said. “That’s what this is all about, power and control in a teen relationship.”

She went on to say that the person being controlled often rationalizes the behavior by believing the abuser loves them.

Consent is key to a healthy intimate relationship.

“Consent is affirmative. It is not perceived,” Owens said.

Early in a relationship one must give consent for hand holding, kissing, hugging or more.

What do teens have to say?

One 14 year old interviewed by CNY News said, “In health class we learned it’s best to hold off dating. We are supposed to practice abstinence, not have sex.”

The teen’s name withheld at parent’s request.

Teen Resources:

Opportunities for Otsego - 607-432-4855

Delaware Opportunities - 607-746-6278

Chenango County, Liberty Resources - 855-966-9723

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