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and Violence in Dating
Every Teen Needs to Know about Healthy Relationships
In a good relationship, people can:
- Express differences
- Share ideas and
- Discuss their beliefs
- Talk before touching
- Feel comfortable
- Be themselves
A Good Partner:
- Encourages you
to feel good about yourself
- Helps you to see
who you are and appreciates you for you
- Encourages other
- Only touches you
in a way you want and like
- Encourages you
to say how you feel and appreciates your thoughts
What is Teen Dating Violence?
Dating Violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that someone uses against
a girlfriend or boyfriend. Abuse can cause injury or even death, but it
doesnt have to be physical. It can include verbal and emotional
abuse - constant insults, isolation from friends and family, name calling,
controlling what someone wears - and it can also include sexual abuse.
It can happen to anyone - at any age. It isnt an argument every
once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day (A Teens Handbook
What Is Not Ok? Warning Signs to Watch for:
Does your Boyfriend/Girlfriend:
- Act jealous or
possessive toward you?
- Control what you
do or who you hang out with?
- Embarrass or insult
- Neglect to respect
your feelings and ideas?
- Touch you in a
way that hurts or frightens you?
- Pressure and/or
manipulate you into having sex?
- Pressure you to
use drugs or alcohol?
- Grab, punch, hit
or kick you?
- Blame you for his/her
- Check up on where
- Prevent you from
practicing safe sex?
- Scare you, or make
you afraid of how he/she will react to things you do or say?
- Hold all the power
in your relationship?
- Threaten you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your boyfriend or girlfriend
might be abusing you. Please talk to a trusted adult, friend, counselor,
teacher, parent, family member or advocate at WomenSafe.
You deserve a healthy relationship!
Remember: You have the right to feel safe at all times. No one deserves
to be abused.
What to do if you are being abused
TALK ABOUT IT:
Seek out the support you need; often people are isolated by an abusive
partner. Get support from someone you trust such as a parent, friend,
teacher, school counselor, family member, or advocate at WomenSafe. You
can call the WomenSafe 24-hour hotline anonymously without giving your
name, age or where you live.
THINK ABOUT SAFETY:
Trust your feelings, if you are worried about safety, theres a reason
for it. If you are in immediate danger - call the police. Talk to a trusted
adult. Breaking up can be a dangerous time. Make sure you have a safety
plan before taking action.
PUT YOURSELF FIRST:
Your partner might need help, but it is important that you get support
YOU ARE NOT ALONE:
You are not to blame, and you do not deserve to be abused. There is help!
Call the 24-hour confidential hotline at WomenSafe at 388-4205 or 800-388-4205
for more information.
1 in 5 female high school students reported being physically or sexually
abused by a dating partner. This includes being shoved, slapped, hit or
forced into any sexual activity. (Journal
of the American Medical Association, 2001)
How to Help a Friend Who Has Been Abused:
- Tell them that
the abuse is not their fault.
- Tell them that
they don't deserve to be abused.
- Believe them and
let them know that you do.
- Be supportive,
but don't tell them what to do. Whatever they decide, it is their decision.
- Don't blame them
for the abuse or their decisions. It is difficult and sometimes dangerous
to leave a relationship and they may not be ready yet.
- Offer to go with
them to talk to someone: a teacher, counselor or advocate.
- Continue to be
there for them even if they do not leave the relationship. Let them
know that they can always come to you.
- Don't spread gossip.
It could be dangerous for them.
- Help them to make
a safety plan, or find someone who can.
- Give them good
information about abuse. There are resources available to help them
- Call WomenSafe
at 388-4205 or 800-388-4205 for more information.
In one study, 25% of high school girls told no one about the abuse,
26% told their parents, and 66% reported the abuse to their friends.
Love and Danger: A Teens Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships
by Barrie Levy, MSW (1993) Seal Press.)