Alternatives To Violence of the Palouse, Inc.
Help for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, friends and non-offending family members, with a focus on prevention education and community outreach.
Teens and Dating Violence
24-hour Crisis Hotlines:
(208) 883-HELP or
Collect crisis calls will be accepted.
"The first time it happened, I was about fourteen and my boyfriend was sixteen. He saw me hug my brother in the hall at school, but he didn't know it was my brother because we'd just started dating. He dragged me out of school, behind a store and just beat me up--literally. He said if anyone asked me what happened, to tell them I got into a fight with someone; not to dare tell anyone he hit me."
Dating violence doesn't just happen to adults. It happens to teens, too. It is more common for young women to be victims of dating violence, but young men can also be trapped in violent relationships. Many people don't even realize that they are in an abusive relationship.
28% of teens are in violent relationships.
It's important to remember that all relationships have their ups and downs. But healthy, respectful relationships don't stay hurtful. It is important to recognize how often you feel disappointed, hurt, frightened, sad or angry in your relationships. Dating violence is not the same as getting mad or upset or getting in a fight. It's about using violence, threats or emotions to maintain power and control over the partner. Dating violence is a pattern of actual or threatened behavior that emotionally, verbally, physically or sexually hurts another person.
There are several different kinds of dating violence. The important thing to remember is that the purpose of abuse is to establish power and control over another person and the relationship. Usually before a relationship escalates to physical violence, it has already been emotionally, verbally or sexually abusive.
The easiest form of dating violence to recognize is physical violence and can include any or all of the following signs:
- hair pulling
- cutting with knife or other object
- hitting head against wall
- arm twisting
- hitting with object
- bending fingers
- pushing out of car
Emotional violence is harder to name or even recognize, because it can be disguised as kindness or caring. Emotional abuse is also very subtle, but is extremely manipulative and makes the victim feel responsible for problems in the relationship. Jealousy and possessiveness are a form of emotional abuse, as well as these other indicators:
- blamed for your partner's faults
- verbally harassed
- called names
- accused of flirting or cheating with others
- publicly humiliated
- possessions broken
Sexual violence is also a factor in many violent dating relationships. Like other forms of abuse, it occurs on a continuum of verbal, emotional and physical assaults and refers to any forced or unwanted sexual activity or rape. Examples include:
- calling victim sexual names
- wanting sex after physical violence
- forcing sex
- forcing sex acts victim is uncomfortable with
- forced sex without protection
- accusing victim of being a prude, frigid or unfaithful
Wondering if you're in an abusive relationship? Here are some questions that can help. If you answer yes to more than two questions, you may either be in an abusive relationship, or in a relationship that will likely become abusive.
- Are you frightened of your boyfriend or girlfriend's temper?
- Are you afraid to disagree with him/her?
- Do you find yourself apologizing to yourself or others for your boyfriend/girlfriend's behavior when you are treated badly?
- Have you been frightened by his/her violence towards others?
- Have you been hit, kicked, shoved or had things thrown at you?
- Do you not see friends or family because of his/her jealousy?
- Have you been forced to have sex?
- Have you been afraid to say no to sex?
- Are you forced to justify everything you do, every place you go and every person you see to avoid his or her temper?
- Have you been wrongly and repeatedly accused of flirting or having sex with others?
- Are you unable to go out, get a job or go to school without his/her permission?
- Have you become secretive, ashamed or hostile to your parents because of this relationship? (Levy 41-2).
What to Do if You're Being Abused
- Take it seriously--recognize that it is abuse!
- Tell your abuser the violence must stop
- Say "no" clearly if you don't want sex
- Plan for your safety
- Tell your parents or a trusted adult
- Call the police or other authorities
- Call a hotline
- Find a counselor or a support group
- Talk to friends
- Do things for yourself that make you feel stronger
- Take a self-defense class
- Realize that it's NOT your fault!
- Have the courage to get help
Being in an abusive relationship is scary, and you may be afraid to tell anyone. It's confusing to be in love with someone who hurts you, and you might be torn between protecting your partner and wanting protection from them. Usually, victims just want the abuse to end, not the relationship. But it's really important to tell someone you trust so that the hurting behavior can stop.
Is your relationship based on equality?
A healthy relationship is based on trust, respect, commitment and equality. Problems and conflicts are addressed openly and honestly. Neither person tries to "outdo" or control the other, and both work to find a solution acceptable to each person. When open communication, equality, and respect for each other's boundaries are present, the relationship is built on trust and commitment. The relationship does not define who they are, rather it strengthens and contributes to their individual identities.
Or is it based on power and control?
Obsession, jealousy and possessiveness in a relationship are not about love or caring in a relationship--they are about insecurity, control and manipulation.
Remember, IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT! No one deserves or asks to be abused.
Teen Bill of Rights
I have the right to . . .
- Be treated with respect.
- Trust my instincts.
- Say "no" and be heard.
- Have my privacy respected.
- Accept a gift without having to give anything in return.
- Ask for help if I need it.
- Have someone point out my strengths and assets.
- Have loved ones support me.
- Have private time and my own space.
- Have others listen to what I have to say--even if they don't agree.
- Live a violence-free life.
- Be good to myself.
I have the responsibility to . . .
- Communicate my thoughts, ideas and feelings clearly.
- Stick to my limits and boundaries.
- Respect the limits and boundaries of others.
- Listen to what others have to say and have the right to reject their ideas, but not the person.
- Treat others as my equal.
I have the right to be happy!
If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-333-7233, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People can help--you're not alone!
Want more info? Check out these links designed for teens.
Love is Not Abuse - Dating Violence - Test your knowledge about dating violence, read about other teens' experiences, and find out how to get help.
ACADV Dating Violence - Help and safety planning for teens in violent dating relationships.
Teen Dating Violence Awareness - Myths and facts about dating violence, and tips on having healthy relationships.
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center - Teen Violence - Information from the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center.
Teenwire - Relationship and sexuality info you can trust and tips for having a healthy relationship.
Sex, Etc. - A website by teens for teens on teen sexual health issues, including GLBTQ and abuse and violence.
Teen Victim Project - A unique new site designed especially for teen victims of crime, including sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and sexual harassment.
OutProud - The National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Youth.
Teen Coalition Against Sexual Assault: Teens speaking out against sexual violence - Information about sexual assault, harassment, and rape for survivors and their friends
Help End Sexual Violence: Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual AssaultAlliance: Factsheets: Sexual Harassment Information for Teens - Information about sexual harassment and common behaviors and reactions.
Youth.org - Created to help self-identifying gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning youth. YOUTH.ORG exists to provide young people with a safe space online to be themselves.
Dating Violence Resource Center - A resource website providing a host of information for victims of dating violence including Fact Sheets, Teen Tip Sheets, Outreach Materials, and "Resource Reviews" of books, films and other materials.
"We spent all our time together. It was wonderful at first, but it became obsessive. I was either with him or talking to him on the phone. He became more and more jealous. At one point, I even had to be on the phone with him when I went to sleep so that he knew I was at home at night. I was allowed to talk to only two people at school--both were girls, and he had his friends watch me to make sure I was obedient."
Levy, Barrie. In Love & In Danger. A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships. 1993: Seal Press.
Levy, Barrie and Patricia Occhiuzzo Giggans. What Parents Need to Know ABotu Dating Violence. 1995: Seal Press.
Reaching & Teaching Teens to Stop Violence. Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition. 825 M Street, Suite 404, Lincoln, NE 68508. 402-476-6256.
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