February kicks off Teen Dating Abuse awareness month. All month long organizations will be bringing forth information to educate the community so that we might be able to break this cycle and create a safe and healthy environment for dating teens.
Dating abuse is a public health issue that affects people from all ages, backgrounds and identities. However, among people that experience sexual violence, physical violence and /or stalking, most experience some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before the age of 25.
The ultimate goal is to stop dating violence before it starts. Promote healthy relationships in young people by becoming informed and involved. During the pre-teen and teen years, young people are learning the skills they need to form positive relationships with others. This is an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of dating violence that can last into adulthood.
Abuse comes in many forms and we all need to be able to recognize it and not be afraid to act to end it:
Emotional/Verbal Abuse includes threats, insults, screaming, monitoring or isolation.
Physical Abuse is any intentional use of physical touch to cause fear, injury or assert control.
Financial Abuse is exerting power and control over a partner through their finances such as taking or withholding money.
Stalking is being repeatedly watched followed, monitored or harassed. Stalking CAN BE DONE ONLINE or in person.
Sexual Abuse is any sexual activity that occurs without willing, active unimpaired consent.
Digital Abuse is using technology to bully, stalk, threaten or intimidate a partner using texting, social media, apps, tracking etc.
Some common warning signs to watch for include:
- Checking cell phones, emails or social networks without permission
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Constant belittling or put downs
- Explosive temper
- Isolation from family or friends
- Making false accusations
- Constant mood swings toward you
- Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way
- Telling someone what to do
- Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex
To find out more about the types of abuse or the common warning signs to watch for with your teen, check out one of these online sites:
www.loveisrespect.org or 1-866-331-9474 or text loveis to 22522
If you or someone you know sees these warning signs in their relationship or their teen’s relationship, text loveis to 22522
Submitted by: Joan Spencer, Development Director at Community Referral Agency
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