Have you experienced Dating Violence? Has your Teen experienced Dating Violence? It’s scary to think that teens and parents are often unaware that they, their teens or friends have experienced dating violence. Teen dating violence is emotional, physical, sexual or mental abuse within the bounds of a romantic or potential relationship. It’s not talked about and can difficult to bring up because of the social stigma of victim blaming. Sometimes teen dating violence occurs on the first or second date when the two people aren’t even a couple.
Unfortunately about 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men have experienced rape, physical violence, and or stalking by an intimate partner. It’s even sadder to imagine that some youth have experienced teen dating violence as young as 11 years of age and they have not disclosed their assault to anyone. You don’t need to suffer in silence. Help is out there for you.
Teens who are psychologically, physically or sexually assaulted can experience long term mental health and physically risks. Teens who experience teen dating violence or partner violence such as physical violence, shoving, pushing or being held against their will, verbal attacks, insults, curses or disrespecting comments in front of others may experience suicidal ideation, binge drinking, ongoing depression, or high risk sexual behaviours following intimate partner violence and assaults. Many people feel they are at fault for their partner’s rage. This is not true. You are never responsible for someone else’s anger or rage.
Both women and men who experienced some form of teen dating violence from being shoved to being treated poorly can suffer from poor physical and mental health outcomes over the next 5 years following these forms of violence. The end result is that teen dating violence negatively impacts the mental and physical health of both young men and women. Both women and men teens who experienced teen dating violence are more likely to experience adult partner violence later in life. We need to help stop the cycle of violence.
There are other signs that happen before the psychologically or physically violence occurs. Be aware of these signs to help protect yourself and others from teen dating violence or intimate partner violence. Sometimes teens and adults aren’t sure whether or not they are even in a violent dating situation or if there is anything they can do and become confused by their relationship and if they should reach out for help.
Warning Signs of Potential trouble you might be Experiencing or at Risk of
Experiencing Teen Dating Violence
1) your partner destroying your belongings
2) your partner isolating you from your friends and family members
3) your partner controls what you wear
4) your partner controls who you hang out with
5) your partner constantly checking where you are and who you are with
6) your partner prevents you for your usual activities or sports or hobbies
7) your partner gets angry easily
8) your partner has unpredictable mood swings
9) your partner blames you for his or her anger
10) your partner threatening to harm or kill him or herself if you break off the relationship
11) your partner pressuring you to have sex or engage in sexual activities that make you uncomfortable
12) your partner posts sexually photos of you or takes photos or videos without your permission
13) your partner unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time
14) your partner says things like, “If I can’t have you then no one can.”
15) your partner wants you to get pregnant against your will engages in unsafe sex with you or prevents you from using birth control
Warning Signs for Parents and Friends if you Suspect Teen Dating Violence
1) has unexplainable bruises
2) is doing poorly at school
3) does not socialize with her or his old friends
4) makes excuses for his or hers partner’s inappropriate behaviour
5) says it’s her or his fault their partner was angry
6) no longer participates in or drops out of their favourite sports, activities or hobbies
7) isolates him or herself at home
Steps to stop Teen Date Violence include
Talk about Teen Date Violence. Open up the lines of communication at home or with your friends about Teen Date Violence. Ask your school to host a group to present a talk about Teen Date Violence. Talk to your teens about Teen Date Violence and how to keep safe. Let them know they can talk to you about their experiences with their intimate partners and you are there to support them. Talk to your sons and daughters about being sexually responsible and what healthy intimate relationships look like. Ensure you have meet your teens boyfriend or girlfriend.
Think about ways to remain safe. Violence is less likely to happen in a group situation so arrange dates with other teen couples or with your friends. Avoid having individual dates very early in a relationship or if you have any concerns.
Be aware of date drugs. Do not accept a drink from strangers at bars. Date drugs can be slipped into your drink when you are not looking. The drugs often have no color, smell, or taste, so you can’t tell if you are being drugged. If someone wants to buy you a drink go to the bar and watch the bartender make the drink. Leave you drink with your friends if you go dancing or to the bathroom. Agree with your friends that you will all leave the club together at the end of the evening and watch out for each other while you’re having fun.
Talk to Someone. Ask for help and allow others to help you. Find someone you trust, such as a family member, close friend or even a school counsellor, and talk to them about your relationship and your concerns. Call the teen help line if you’re too afraid to speak with someone in person. Ask the questions and talk about your confusion or your need for immediate help. In the Ottawa area call 1-800-668-6868. Phone and talk to a professional counsellor or 613-260-2360 (Ottawa region) or 1-877-377-7775 (toll-free). En Francias, Ville d’Ottawa appeller 613-722-6914 L’exterior d’Ottawa appeller 1-866-996-0991.
Get help for yourself if you have ever acted violently against someone else. Underneath the rage are other emotions that you are experiencing but may not be aware of. It’s never OK to treat someone aggressively or violently. You can stop the pattern now before you find yourself in trouble with the law. There is help for you to learn about your emotions and how to express your rage or anger in a positive manner that will get you heard and not physically hurt.
Define what you want in a healthy relationship. Take the time to reflect on how you want to be treated by your partner. Talking with a therapist can help you decide what you want in your relationship and help you create healthy boundaries for yourself. Once you are aware of the signs of an unhealthy abusive relationship you can start to make choices and take steps to protect yourself.
Call us at Family-Therapy at 613-287-3799 is you or someone you know has experienced dating violence.