Teen Dating Violence
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 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 the problems?
- Makes your family and friends uneasy and concerned for your safety?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you could be the victim of dating abuse. Dating violence or abuse affects one in ten teen couples. Abuse isn’t just hitting. It’s yelling, threatening, name-calling, saying I’ll kill myself if you leave me, obsessive phone calling, and extreme possessiveness.
What if You Want Out?
- Tell your parents, a friend, a counselor, a clergyman, or someone else whom 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 officer.
- Keep a daily log of the abuse.
- Do not meet your partner alone. Do no let him or her in your home or car when you are alone.
- Avoid being alone at school, your job, on the way to and from places.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to 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 other teens about their problems. If a friend tells you he or she is being victimized, here are some suggestions on how you can help.
- If you notice a friend is in an abusive relationship, don’t ignore signs of abuse. Talk to your friend.
- Express your concerns. Tell your friend you’re worried. Support, don’t judge.
- Point out your friend’s strengths – many people in abusive relationships are no longer capable of seeing their own abilities and gifts.
- Encourage them to confide in a trusted adult. Talk to a trusted adult if you believe the situation is getting worse. Offer to go with them for help.
- Never put yourself in a dangerous situation with the victim’s partner. Don’t be a mediator.
- Call the police if you witness an assault. Tell an adult – a school principal, parent, guidance counselor.
What You Can Do
- Start a peer education program on teen dating violence.
- Ask your school library to purchase books about living without violence and the cycle of domestic violence.
- Create bulletin boards in the school cafeteria or classroom to raise awareness.
Perform a play about teen dating violence.