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A recent survey found that 18.6% of teens said a boyfriend/girlfriend spread rumours about them using a cell phone, email, instant messaging, web chat, blog or a social networking site. Teenagers are inexperienced in dating relationships, and often have romantic ideas about love.

They struggle to communicate and relate to their partner, which in turn leads to the use of poor coping mechanisms such as verbal and physical aggression.

Researchers found that three in four teens said that boyfriend/girlfriend relationships usually begin at age 14 or younger, more than one in three 11-12 year olds said they have been in a relationship, and sex is considered to be a normal part of a relationship for 11-14 year olds.

Now, this conversation seems to be more prevalent for people who are in the early stages of dating and who are not officially dating yet (because once you’re a couple, it doesn’t really matter who pays for what, as long as you’re alternating).

The South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey done in 2002 found that 13.6% of girls participating in the survey reported that they had been assaulted by their boyfriends, and 11.1% said they were forced to have sex.

Types of abuse According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) there are three common types of dating violence: - Physical - when a partner is hit, pinched, shoved or kicked - Emotional - when a partner is threatened or their sense of self worth is harmed.

Girls often accept being abused as normal because their friends are also being abused.

The effects of abuse Abusive relationships can have a lasting effect on the lives of teens. 'Love is a dangerous thing': micro-dynamic of violence in sexual relationships of young people in Umtata. Medical Research Council -The South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey 2002 SEE: Smoking triples your risk of developing this disease Vaping leads to 'real' smoking by teens Smokers who are offered cash incentives are far more likely to give up cigarettes than those who are simply offered tips on how to quit, a study found.