Preventing Teen Dating Violence

Expert offers hard hitting advice on preventing teen dating violence

You see the reports of date rape in the newspapers and on TV.  Cases of teen violence have skyrocketed nationwide.  

  • The FBI reports that 30% of women who are murdered in the U.S. are killed by their boyfriends, husbands or exes.  
  • One-third of teenagers have reported being physically, emotionally or verbal abused by a dating partner, according to a recent Liz Claiborne survey.  
  • The CDC reports that women ages 16-24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate violence and 20-25% of college women in the U.S. will experience attempted or completed rape during college.

New Jersey based counselor Dari-Dyrness Olsen, is author of the new book Safe Dating for College Women.  For the past 10 years she’s traveled all across the United States teaching college women how to prevent date rape and dating abuse.  Dari says that kids today don’t even know when they are being abused or being abusive because it has sadly become the societal norm.  Her slogan is “Safe dating is smart dating!” 

Here is some of the most important advice she has for young women about how to prevent being a victim of date rape or abuse: 

Love is Blind – Relationships don’t start off abusive. Dating abuse slowly rears its ugly head over a period of time.  Don’t miss the subtle warning signs right in the beginning of a relationship that tell you this person is toxic and the relationship will be unhealthy.  Don’t be blinded by a fairytale fantasy. 

Know the Red Flags of Dating Abuse – Dating abuse is all about power and control over another person.  Ask yourself right now: 

Do you fight a lot?
Is he mean to you?
Does he make you feel bad about yourself?
Does he have an angry streak?
Does he put you down or call you names?
Does he text you obsessively & need to know where you are, who you are with & what you are doing?
Is he jealous?
Does he accuse you of cheating?
Does he want you to spend all of your time with him and no one else?

If you have answered yes to any, some, most, or all of these questions, then you need to seek help immediately.  You are in an abusive dating relationship.

Set the Bar High – You deserve to be in a safe, healthy, and loving relationship.  Raise your standards on who you become intimate with.  Don’t feel like you have to “hook up” or “hang out” with no commitment or strings attached.  Expect, request, require, demand more than just a one-night stand.  Don’t accept the role of sex toy.  Let your partners know that you expect to be loved, respected, and treated like gold.  Have a relationship that is based on mutual respect, loving behavior, honesty, trust, and fun.   

Know That The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree – If you or the person you are dating grew up in an abusive family, realize that the task before you is harder than for those who didn’t. Get help now. Don’t passively just allow yourself to follow in your parents’ footsteps. Seek counseling and support so that you develop and maintain the strength and character needed to evolve above inherited patterns of violence and abuse. Ask yourself right now:

Do you or your date have a family history of abuse?
Were either of you physically, verbally, or sexually abused as a child?
Was either of you abused by his father?
Do either of you have broken family relationships?
Do either of you have substance abuse issues?

If you have answered yes to any, some, most, or all of these questions, then there is a very good chance that your relationship will become abusive, if it isn’t already. 

Never Depend on a Guy – NEVER depend on anyone else to take care of you.  Men use money to control women, especially if they have young children to support.  Don’t get in or stay in an abusive relationship just because you think you can’t take care of yourself or have no other help or support. You can do it.  Learn to take care of yourself!  Do well in school, learn how to make, invest, and manage your own money, and have a great career that fulfills you.  The only person you can ever truly depend on is YOURSELF!

Don’t Think That a Leopard Can Change Its’ Spots – Don’t stay in an abusive relationships hoping that he will change.  HE WON’T EVER CHANGE. The most important first step is for YOU to want to change and admit you have a problem.  Pay close attention to what is occurring. Are you walking on eggshells all of the time stressed out about making him mad? Has the volcano erupted and the abuser taken out all of his frustration verbally, physically, or emotionally on you? Don’t think that the abuse will end. Dating abuse goes through this cycle over and over again, until YOU decide to get off the rollercoaster.  


Dari also says that every women should create and have safety plan ready in case she needs one or has to help someone else. 


Here are the key elements that are needed:

First Step – Program the following numbers into YOUR CELL PHONE: 1. the names and phone numbers of campus police, 2. campus counseling center, 3. the local police station, and 4. at least 3 people (on speed dial) that you can call in case of an emergency.  Make sure that your cell phone is always charged. 

Second Step – Get help from an adult, a campus counselor, or a private counselor as soon as possible.  Tell as many people as possible about your situation, so they know that you could be in danger.

Third Step – If he has threatened you, tell people right away.  Do not keep it to yourself. Get somewhere safe right away.  Go to the campus security office or police station, tell them what happened and file a restraining order.

Fourth Step – Start and keep a journal and document what is going on listing dates, times, witnesses, and what was said or done, as well as all text messages and e-mails.  If you’ve been hurt, see a doctor right away! This is your physical proof if you need to go to court.

Fifth Step – Do not EVER meet with your boyfriend alone after you have broken up with him no matter what, even if he threatens to hurt or kill himself.  This is how girls are murdered.

 Sixth Step – Stop talking to him totally: Block all forms of communication with him via phone, computer, or in person. End it. Run away from him if you see him anywhere fast.

Get regular counseling (every day if you need it) to help you get through this difficult time.

   By Dari Dyrness-Olsen, MA, LPC

For more information  regarding her book or teen dating violence, visit:

About Dari Dyrness-Olsen

 Dari Dyrness-Olsen, MA, LPC is nationally known as “America’s Safe Dating Coach”.  She is currently working with NJ legislators on passing the “Safe Dating Law” that will require all public middle and high schools to add Safe Dating Curriculum to their annual health curriculum.  Dari is also working with the national organization Love is Not Abuse and other states to model what she is doing in NJ.

Update:  On January 31, 2011, Dari Dyrness-Olsen testified before the New Jersey State Senate.  The SAFE DATING LAW (Senate Bill A2920) passed unanimously.  The bill requires the Board of Education to develop a policy to prevent and address dating violence at school and to develop dating violence training materials to be posted on its website.

Dari Dyrness-Olsen

Safe Dating for College Women ~

7 Secrets for Dating Safely, Building High Self-Esteem & Developing Healthy Relationships


About Sandra Bell Kirchman

My passion is for fiction, especially fantasy fiction. I have been writing nearly all my life, since the age of 7 when I produced a 5-page novel called "Angus the Ant" - self-illustrated. My most recent novel WITCHCANERY is not about an ant and is available at most online booksellers. "Witchcanery" has won several awards and has met with modest, although enthusiastic, acclaim from readers around the world. I've also edited and published an anthology for the writers at my site, called "Birth of a Unicorn and Other Stories." Both books are available on Kindle; the latter is also available on Nook. Both books are sold as hard copies at most major online outlets as well as being available as paperbacks. One of my later ventures was horror stories; surprisingly, since horror stories scare me, I find I have a special affinity for them, especially in flash fiction format (under 1000 or less words). Currently, I am working on two WIPs, one a sequel to "Witchcanery," which several readers have made me promise to write; the other an apocalyptic novel called "The Road to the End of the World." There are several examples of this latter novel in my blog "Fantasyfic," formerly known as "Wizards and Ogres and Elves - Oh My!" Fantasyfic is on hold temporarily, while I work on my other two sites--"News, Views, and Gurus," and the said "Fantasyfic.". My other blogs keep me hopping. One is a roundup of news and some fun pieces from around the world. It is listed under the name of "News, Views, and Gurus." My blog "Puppy Dog Tales" is an ongoing sometimes humorous account of my adventures as an avid pet parent and animal lover. My little Shih-Tzu Ling Ling and my long-haired Mexican chihuahua are the joys of my life...and so is my husband, but I don't write about him. Anyhow, my blog "Puppy Dog Tales" is a work of love, featuring my doggies and other pets around the world. I'm a devoted advocate of animal rights and especially backing the cause of animal rescue shelters. My wonderful husband and I live in a very small town in southeastern Saskatchewan on the south side in a rustic, cedar-sided home. Our property is almost a whole acre, and is gracious and pretty (which is not easy to be in one package). All four of us are happy here.

9 Responses to “Preventing Teen Dating Violence”

  1. It’s really too bad re: the societal acceptance. Even a popular best-selling book & movie (a title that I shall not sully your site with) romantacizes it in an insidious & disgusting manner.

    Listen to the advice here. Don’t be a statistic.


    • Yes, Stephanie, I agree with you about the movie, teaching young girls that love means some of the forms of abuse listed above. I think the saddest thing about this entry supports the above statement: “Dari says that kids today don’t even know when they are being abused or being abusive because it has sadly become the societal norm.” Young women and men have to start taking responsibility for their actions. In order to do that, they must know what their actions cause and what to take responsibility for.


  2. One of the most important things that I teach kids who are dating is that “Sex is serious!” And one of my most famous quotes is “Our body is a temple and our sexuality is a gift. One that should not be given away to just anyone.” Society, media, internet, movies, books, and music are not so good at teaching kids healthy values. Parents are essential in instilling good values and heading their kids down the right road- against the flow of society!


    • Thanks for dropping by, Dari. If you can help the teens relate to what you are saying, then half the battle is won. As the old norms of media, literature and society fall by the wayside in their previous roles as examples and reinforcements of the values, the role of the parent becomes increasingly important and necessary to take up the slack. The quote from you that shocked me the most and impressed upon me the need to help these young people is that they don’t even realize “when they are being abused or being abusive because it has sadly become the societal norm.” This truly should become the wake-up call.


  3. My brother recommended I might like this website. He was entirely right.
    This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!


    • Thanks for the compliment, penniabraham. I am very glad you enjoyed this post. It certainly contains some important information for young people.

      I have been unable in the past to offer more articles, but will be working more on this site in the near future. I hope you will stay tuned to it and see if there are more posts upcoming that you will enjoy.


  4. Okay This coming monday I’m going to Band camp. And that i haven’t
    seen my ex boyfriend all summer and i truly need to make him overlook me and
    be jealous. What do i need to do. I haven’t talked to him since we broke up in December but i really want him to skip me and regret breaking up with me. So please tell me what i need to do..


    • Michel, I am not qualified to reply to your query. I am only the reporter, not the expert on Preventing Teen Dating Violence. I will forward your question on to Dari, who IS the expert. Hopefully, she will have an answer to your question.



  1. Visit “Preventing Teen Dating Violence” | Wizards and Ogres and Elves…oh my! - February 6, 2011

    […] This is just a heads up to let you know there is a great story on the high incidence of teen dating violence and how to prevent it on my new blog News, Views and Gurus.  It features “America’s Safe Dating Coach” and expert on teen dating violence, Dari Dyrness-Olsen.  You can read “Preventing Teen Dating Violence” here. […]


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