DID YOU KNOW? -Teen Dating Violence Awareness

Happy New Year! We are so excited that God brought us to a new year. Of course, the new year brings new year’s resolutions… some last for just a few moments and others last a life time. For this issue,want to present a topic that if you or someone you know may be dealing with. Our prayer is that you will make the decision to escape it for a lifetime. So… In honor of February ‘s Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, let’s learn about it!

What is Dating Abuse/Violence?
It is a type of violence between two people in a close relationship that can include physical,emotional or sexual offenses. The location does not matter as it can take place in person, over the phone or on the internet.

• Physical abuse/violence- when a person is pushed, hit, kicked or pinched against their will.
• Emotional abuse/violence- when a person’s self-worth is harmed or when a partner speaks in ways that makes their counterpart feel uncomfortable. This can also be a verbal threat such as spreading rumors or a threat to physically harm an individual or their family.
• Sexual abuse/violence- is when a partner engages in sexual acts against their will or when they cannot give permission.

Get The Facts:
• 1 out of 5 females experience dating violence, while one 1 of 10 males experience dating violence in their lifetime.
• Many individuals who experience dating violence are afraid to tell their family and friends about what they are experiencing.
• Teens who experience dating violence have an increased chance of suffering from depression and anxiety. They are also more likely to try tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
• Those who are victims when they are young are likely to be victims when they are older.

Risks of Being a Victim or Abuser:
• Belief that dating violence is acceptable
• Drug and alcohol use
• Aggressive behavior towards objects, animals or people
• Witnessing or experiencing violence at home
• Early sexual activity and having multiple sexual partners
•Having depression or anxiety
• Previous trauma in life
• Having a fight or conflict with your partner

How to Stop Abuse/Violence Before it Starts?
• Try to develop healthy relationships that make you feel comfortable and happy
•If you see concerning signs from the information given in this article, don’t overlook them. This could very well end in a relationship that makes you uncomfortable
• Refrain from becoming emotionally involved and with someone while getting to know someone so it’s not difficult to escape a relationship if needed
• Pay attention to how an individual treats their parents, siblings and others around them to check for potential reassuring or alarming signs
• Set boundaries at the beginning of the relationship…Let your counterpart know what you will not tolerate
• If you see yourself as an abuser or think you may become one, get help

I’m in an Abusive Relationship…What Can I do?
• When your partner is not around, tell a close friend or family member
• File for a restraining order
• Change your phone number and stop all communication.
• Make sure your wishes are made clear and act accordingly.
• Stay at a shelter for a few nights if needed
• If you are given a phone number for a place to get help, memorize the number. Do not take the brochure or card with you so that your partner does not find it
• If you know someone who has successfully gotten out of an abusive relationship, talk to them to see what their strategy and resources were.

Who Can Help?
• National Dating Abuse Helpline and Love is Respect: 866-331-9474 or text the phrase “loveis” to 22522
• National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE
• National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE.

All in all, if you are dealing with dating violence, you should know that it is never okay. Dating violence can hinder your sense of self-worth and your physical and emotional health. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I AM WORTH MORE!” and get out quickly!

As always, feel free to contact me with questions at jaysloveyourlife@yahoo.com or speak to your health care provider.

~Dr. Jay