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Because both emotional and physical intimacy occur in private between two people, violence and abuse can remain well hidden and may continue over a long period of time.
The cloak of secrecy is further reinforced because victims of dating and relationship violence often feel powerless, frightened, and ashamed; therefore, they are reluctant to report their experiences because they may feel they are somehow at fault; or they may have reasonable fears that the violence will escalate if they disclose their experiences to another person.
At its core, dating and relationship violence is about one person misusing power to control another person.
Anyone, of any age or gender, can become a victim of dating and relationship violence and dating violence is reported in both heterosexual and same-sex couples.
Sometimes a child may have made a poor decision, such as agreeing to meet someone from an online chat room and parents may feel angry their child did something so foolish and broke the rules.It is a sad fact that today's youth are much more likely to be exposed to violence and abuse than youth of previous generations: dating and acquaintance rape, relationship violence, bullying, gang activity, and exposure to graphic violent images in video games and on the Internet.Often, it is quite difficult for parents to intervene in these complex situations but there are several steps that parents can take to limit their children's exposure to these dangers.Dating and relationship violence includes any type of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse that occurs between dating partners.Abusers seek to gain control over their victims by manipulating or dominating them.