February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Love Is Respect
Navigating daily life as a growing teen can be a challenge at times. You are experiencing many things for the first time, sometimes without guidance and when asking for advice or help may seem embarrassing or hard to do. The first step to deciding whether or not you need to seek help is knowing how to identify dating violence. There are several different types to watch for.
Physical abuse is any intentional, unwanted contact with you or something close to your body, or any behavior that causes or has the intention of causing you injury, disability, or death.
Emotional or Verbal Abuse
Emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation, or stalking.
Sexual abuse refers to any behavior that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually that they don’t want to do.
Our finances are closely tied to our physical and mental health. In an abusive relationship, the abusive partner may try to cause physical or emotional distress by manipulating the victims finances. This can be done by limiting their income by forcing them to not work, limiting their spending and other means.
Digital dating abuse is the use of technologies like texting and social media to bully, harass, stalk, or intimidate a partner. This behavior is often a form of verbal or emotional abuse, conducted online.
Stalking occurs when someone watches, follows, or harasses you repeatedly, making you feel afraid or unsafe.
Dating, love and romance look different to all people but at the core of all these things is respect. As a young adult you may feel many emotions when starting (or ending) relationships but something you should never feel is disrespected or scared. If you do, you may be experiencing some form of dating violence. If you suspect you or a friend may be in an unhealthy relationship, reach out. Be confident in knowing that there are resources at your disposal to help you out of an unsafe situation.
As parents or care givers it is sometimes easy to forget that our youth have lives outside of our own. With this, comes challenges that we may not see on the surface. One of these challenges can come from their peers who may also call them a loved one. In teaching our youth to be resilient it sometimes makes them isolate and feel as if they have to deal with their problems on their own. For a teen going through any one of the many types of dating violence, this can make an already scary situation even worse. This month, make an effort to #talkaboutit with your young ones.