More than half of America’s teens know friends who have experienced some sort of dating abuse, while nearly three in four say that physical dating violence is a serious concern for their age group,according to a survey sponsored by Liz Claiborne Inc. and conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
In many situations, teens do not recognize they are being abused until serious emotional and/or physical damage is done. Teenagers have the right to safety and to experience healthy relationships. Teen dating violence can be as serious as domestic abuse. It may include hitting, yelling, threatening, name calling, and other forms of verbal, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. The number of incidents and the severity of the abuse increases as the relationship continues. Very few teens tell someone else, ask for help. In a violent relationship, one partner chooses to maintain power and control over the other through abuse. Dating violence happen in all kinds of relationships. MCEDV member projects advocate for and educate teens, teachers, parents or other concerned people about dating violence.
- expect you to spend all of your time with him/her or to “check in” with and let them know where you are?
- act extremely jealous and/or possessive of you?
- isolate you by controlling where you go, who you see and talk to, what you wear?
- treat you with disrespect and put you down?
- put down your friends and family, your dreams, ideas and or goals?
- lose his/her temper frequently over little things?
- make you feel as if you are walking on eggshells to keep the peace?
- make threats to hurt you, leave you, hurt your pets, destroy your property and/or commit suicide if you don’t do what he/she wants?
- play mind games or make you feel guilty?
- refuse to take responsibility for his/her actions? blame you drugs or alcohol, his/her boss, parents etc. for his/her behaviors?
- New Hope for Women, (Knox, Waldo, & Lincoln Counties Domestic Violence Project)
- sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
- constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?
- believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself (i.e. how you dress, who you talk to, or how you show you care?
- try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
- feel like no matter what you do, your partner is never happy with you?
- always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
- stay with your partner only because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?
- Reaching & Teaching Teens NDVSAC, 1996
You may have answered YES to some of these question and still think “It’s not that bad.” However, you should never feel scared, pressured, humiliated or controlled by someone else. You should feel loved, respected, and free to be yourself. Your feelings are important. Advocates at your local Domestic Violence Resource Center are willing listen 24-hours a day.
Is a friend being abused? See 10 ways to help a Friend who is Being Abused.
February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Learn more here.
Why teens don’t tell friends or parents about dating violence:
- Afraid their parents will make them break up.
- Embarrassed and ashamed.
- Afraid of getting hurt.
- Convinced it is their fault or that their parents will blame them or will be disappointed.
- Confused—they may think this is what a relationship is all about.
- Afraid of losing privileges like being able to stay out late or use the car.
Safety Planning for Teens:
- Plan for your safety—Your local domestic violence project will help you – you don’t even need to tell them your name
- Tell someone: school guidance counselors, teachers, church members, coaches, employers, neighbors, parents, families, and hotlines
- Let them know how to help you—If the first person you tell makes you feel bad then tell someone else; you deserve support
- Consider changing your route to/from school.
- Use a buddy system for going to school, classes and after school activities.
- If stranded, who could you call for a ride home?
- Keep a journal describing the abuse– keeping a dated record of abuse can be helpful if you decide to use the civil and criminal justice systems
- Get rid of or change the number to any beepers, pagers or cell phones the abuser gave you.
- Keep spare change, calling cards, number of the local shelter, number of someone who could help you and restraining orders with you at all times.
- How can you communicate with friends if you are in trouble? (code word)
- From the Domestic Violence Advocacy Program of Family Resources, Inc.
Support and education for teenagers at Maine’s Domestic Violence Resource Centers
All of the Domestic Violence Resource Centers work in area schools and other alternative settings to educate students and individuals or institutions serving youth about teen dating violence and healthy relationships. Many presentations are aligned with the “key concepts” and “content areas” mandated for comprehensive school health education. Below is a list of programs provided:
Middle School: An assortment of activities used to show students how to communicate their feelings and how they can model healthy behaviors.
High School: Educational programs use a variety of methods to teach how to define healthy or unhealthy adolescent dating relationships, how to identify the red flags of abusive behavior and access community resources and how support a peer who may be a victim of abuse.
On-Site Advocacy and Group Support: All Projects are willing to go into schools to provide advocacy or group support.
Faculty, Staff & Board Trainings: Trainings are designed to provide faculty/staff with information on how to intervene in abusive behavior, what community resources are available, and how to create a non-oppressive school environment.
Legal Advocacy: Contact the member project serving your area for help with protection orders and other legal problems.
24-Hour Helpline: Whether you have questions about your relationships or if you are looking to help a friend, call your local domestic violence project.
Programs look different everywhere. Some projects provide: elementary education; bullying and conflict resolution education; and programs to encourage youth to educate their peers.
Dating Bill of Rights
|I have a right to:
·Ask for a date
From the Domestic Family Advocacy