1 in 3 girls in the United States is a victim of abuse from a dating partner. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and our goal is to raise awareness so young girls, who experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, can be in happy and healthy relationships.
When you think of abuse, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Hitting, punching, and other forms of physical violence? Abuse takes on many different forms.
- Physical abuse – any intentional use of physical force to cause injury to a person.
- Emotional/Verbal Abuse – any non-physical behavior that cause harm to a person such as threats, insults, humiliation, intimidation, and constant monitoring.
- Sexual Abuse – impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activities, and can range from restricting access to birth control to forceful acts of sexual encounters.
Other forms of abuse that don’t often get talked about include:
- Stalking – being repeatedly followed, watched, or harassed
- Financial Abuse – exerting control over money
- Digital Abuse – use of technology to harass, stalk, or intimidate the partner.
So what can you do to be sure your relationship is healthy?
- Speak up – Don’t be afraid to express your feelings and talk about what is bother you.
- Respect one another – Keep yours and your partner’s best interests in mind and remember privacy. Not everything has to be shared with one another.
- Be supportive – Offer reassurance and guidance when needed and ask for it when you need it.
- Have some “me time” – You don’t have to spend every minute with your partner. Take time for yourself and do what you enjoy and spend time with friends without your partner.
One of the most important things you can do is raise awareness about teen dating violence. Only 33% of teens who were in abusive relationships told someone about it. Often times, people don’t understand or realize that it is an issue, or are too embarrassed to speak up. If you recognize any of these forms of violence in your relationship, seek help. If someone close to you is in an unhealthy relationship, talk to them and provide them with resources for getting help.
Always remember, healthy relationships are not about power and control. Insults, possessiveness, extreme jealousy, yelling, hitting, and humiliation are just a few of the many indicators of an unhealthy relationship. Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious effects later in life. It puts the person at greater risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
For more information and to see other statistics like the ones provided above, visit Love Is Respect