Teen Dating Violence
Dating violence or abuse affects one in ten teen couples. Abuse isn’t just hitting. It’s also yelling, threatening, name calling, threatening suicide if you break up, obsessive phone calling, and extreme possessiveness. Answer the following questions.
Are You Going Out With Someone Who…
- Is jealous and possessive, won’t let you have friends, checks up on you, won’t accept breaking up?
- Tries to control you by being bossy, giving orders, making all of the decisions, not taking your opinions seriously?
- Puts you down in front of friends, tells you that you would be nothing without him or her?
- Scares you? Makes you worry about reactions to things you say or do? Threatens you? Uses or owns weapons?
- Is violent? Has a history of fighting, loses temper quickly, brags about mistreating others? Grabs, pushes, shoves, or hits you?
- Pressures you for sex or is forceful or scary about sex? Gets too serious about the relationship too fast?
- Abuses alcohol or other drugs and pressures you to take them?
- Has a history of failed relationships and blames the other person for all of the problems?
- Makes your family and friends feel uneasy and concerned for your safety?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be the victim of dating abuse.
What If You Want Out?
- Tell your parents, a friend, a counselor, a clergyman, or someone else that you trust and who can help. The more isolated you are from friends and family, the more control the abuser has over you.
- Alert the school counselor or security officers.
- Keep a daily log of what you are going through.
- Do not meet your partner alone. Do not let him or her in your home or car when you are alone. This is not something you will be able to talk out and resolve alone so do not fall into the trap of being lured into private settings.
- Avoid being alone at school, your job, on the way to and from activities.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
- Plan and rehearse what you would do if your partner became abusive.
Being a Friend to a Victim of Abuse
Most teens talk to their peers about their problems. If a friend tells you he or she is being victimized, here are some suggestions on how you can help –
- Do not ignore obvious signs of abuse. Talk to your friend about it.
- Express your concerns. Tell your friend that you are worried. Support, do not judge.
- Point out your friends strengths. Many people in abusive relationships lose self- esteem and feel they deserve what they are putting up with.
- Encourage them to confide in an adult they trust. Talk to an adult yourself if you see the situation getting worse. Offer to go with them for help.
- Never put yourself in a dangerous situation with the victim’s partner. Do not be a mediator.
- Call the police if you witness an assault. Tell an adult — a school principal, parent, guidance counselor immediately.