Talking about teen dating abuse is important. It is more common than many think which means that abused teens think they are alone, and that parents of teens may not know it can be a problem. If you'd like to print out this infographic, you can download a PDF here.
Welcome back everyone! We are in the middle of summer, where there is plenty of time for summer love and spending time with your BF or GF. Ahhh, love and relationships. You see it all around you – on TV, in the movies, hear about it in your fave tunes, see it in your family, with your friends.
Sadly, not all relationships are healthy, so today we talk about healthy relationships and when what started out so sweet has now somehow turned into control and abuse. Summer time is often recognized as a time when abuse in relationships increases. Believe it or not, there is quite a bit of emotional abuse or dating violence among teen relationships. There are a number of reasons this can happen, but one of the biggest is that learning how to have a healthy relationship is new to teens. You have to practice to learn how to have a good relationship. A lot of times you look around you for examples, and not all the examples of relationships you see are healthy. Maybe your parents are in an unhealthy relationship and there is yelling and throwing things going on. Maybe you look to TV shows for relationship examples, but those are often not healthy or normal – I mean, really, “normal” is boring in TV or Movie Land! Even in music – Rihanna and Chris Brown are in the press again and again.
I always say - there will be disagreements and arguments in any relationship – but there should never be a situation where someone makes YOU feel bad about YOURSELF – or who makes you question yourself, your feelings, your worth. And never, EVER, any violence.
If you are having an emergency, please call 911. If you have been abused and need help, please reach out to the Dating Abuse Helpline by phone call (1-866-331-9474) or text (text “loveis” to 77054) or online chat: http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/contact-us/chat-with-us
So, what does an abusive relationship look like?
One definition of abuse by T.E.A.R. click here for more defines dating abuse as: "When one person uses a pattern of violent behavior through means of verbal, physical or sexual intimidation to gain power and control of their partner." Abuse does not have to be physical, though. Love is Respect click here for more has a another definition of abuse: Dating abuse happens when one partner exerts power and control over the other. Both of these websites are great resources for teens.
What are some specific examples of abusive behavior?
Abusive relationships are often characterized by what is known as The Cycle of Abuse. There are a couple of different versions of this concept out there, but the ideas are the same. It captures that abusive behavior is cyclic. It will recur. And, keep in mind, THERE IS NOTHING THE VICTIM CAN DO THAT WILL MAKE IT STOP, SINCE ABUSE IS THE CHOICE OF THE ABUSER TO DO. What do you mean "cycle"? I mean that the behavior pattern starts with a build up of tension, and outburst occurs, then the apology and promises, and a period of calm, or that honeymoon period. But the then cycle goes around again. A picture is worth a thousand words:
Who is at risk? Well, everyone, unfortunately. There is no one group that is free from risk. It is not just girls who are victims. Boys can be victims too. And both boys and girls can be the abuser. And not just straight couples – LGBT couples can have abuse in their relationships too. In Tweens and Teens, abuse can start young. Really young. As young as 11. In fact, 11-14 year olds in relationships report a surprisingly high occurrence of abusive behaviors – especially if they have had sex younger than 14. There is a definite relationship between early sexual experience and teen dating abuse. But that doesn’t mean all abused teens had sex too early…..
Numbers you want?
So, what are some of the warning signs?
Compare that with signs of a healthy relationship:
This: http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familylife/tech_assistance/etraining/partner/healthy/index.html has lots more info for you including a lot more on signs of a healthy vs unhealthy relationships.
Now, LET'S TALK CELL PHONES! I want to expand a bit on everyone’s favorite category – cell phones, smartphones, social networking – and how technology and abuse can go together. Technology has become a common means of abusive interaction….calls and texting can mean a CONSTANT, ENDLESS means of control where your partner can contact you all day and all night to see Where you are Who you are with What you are doing When you will see them Why you are out, etc etc etc. This doesn’t even count stalking or public humiliation on social networks.
More numbers you want?
Why do abusers abuse?
Why people stay?
If you are having an emergency, please call 911. If you have been abused and need help, please reach out to the Dating Abuse Helpline by phone call (1-866-331-9474), text (text “loveis” to 77054) or online chat: http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/contact-us/chat-with-us
Do you think you might be an abuser?:http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/are-you-abusing-2/
You are not alone. Inform yourself. Get help. Help a friend. Love shouldn’t hurt.
Thanks to these great organizations for all the information and resources. They are there to help you if you are being abused, if you are an abuser, or if you have a friend who is being abused.