Comic Book: Teen Dating Violence

A screen shot of the comic book that depicts three dates: one at a diner, one at the movies, and one at a school dance

This comic book tells the story of Neela and Chris, a high school couple. The book illustrates what intimate partner violence can look like in a teenage relationship and how challenging it can be for survivors to identify signs of abuse, as abuse can also be emotional, psychological, and verbal. While it is narrated by Neela, it also includes the perspective of Chris. Their relationship was loving at first, but Chris began to display jealousy and progressively became possessive, threatening, controlling, and violent. Neela struggles to leave her relationship with Chris, her first boyfriend, because she loves him, he’s apologetic, and she knows that he’s not a bad person. It also highlights the role of one’s community in identifying abuse. Both Neela’s friends and the school guidance counselor help her see that Chris’s behavior is abusive, and both Chris’s friends and the school guidance counselor show concern for his actions. Neela’s friends and family support her throughout the relationship as she is gradually able to see that the relationship is unhealthy and make the decision to break up with him on her own.

“When we were dating, I was so involved in the situation, I couldn’t see clearly… I had never been in love before… But now I know, what Chris was doing, trying to manipulate and control me, that’s not love, that’s abuse.”