statistics: the stories behind the book

The Last to Let Go was inspired, not by one real-life story, but many

Domestic or intimate partner violence is often referred to as one of the most “predictable and preventable” crimes, yet there is still so much silence, stigma, shame, and misunderstanding surrounding this kind of abuse.

Here are some important facts about Domestic Violence (DV), Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), and Dating Abuse:


    • Every minute, 24 people become the victim of domestic or intimate partner violence

    • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime

    • DV or IPV affects 12 million people in the United States every year

    • It is estimated that a child will witness one in four of these acts of violence

    • Children who are exposed to DV in the home are 15 times more likely to be victims of abuse or violence

    • Children of domestic violence are 3 times more likely to repeat the cycle of DV in adulthood

    • Men who [as children] witnessed their parents’ domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners as adults

Things EVERYONE should know about Teen Dating Abuse:


    • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year

    • One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence

    • One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend

    • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence – almost triple the national average

    • Among female victims of intimate partner violence, 94% of those age 16-19 and 70% of those age 20-24 were victimized by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend

    • Violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18

    • Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors

    • Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls 6 times more likely to become pregnant & twice as likely to get a STI

    • LGBTQ+ youth face the same rates and types of dating violence as heterosexual couples, yet there are often additional emotional, social, and legal obstacles that interfere with finding help

Why awareness is so important:


    • Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse

    • 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue

    • Though 82% of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify the warning signs

    • Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence

    • The severity of intimate partner violence is often greater in cases where the pattern of abuse was established in adolescence

Although The Last to Let Go is fictional, what I hope it illuminates is that behind every statistic are real people with real lives and real struggles. The cycle of abuse can be extremely difficult to break free from; leaving is never simple or easy.

If you or someone you know needs help, you are not alone. For a list of resources, please visit the IF YOU NEED HELP page.

*statistics come from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and LoveIsRespect websites