February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. It is estimated that 1 in 10 teenagers will experience teen dating violence. It is important to be informed and empowered to recognize the warning signs of an abusive relationship.
Common warning signs of dating abuse are:
- Extreme jealousy
- Emotionally manipulating
- Isolation from family and friends
- Mood swings
- Inflicting or threatening physical pain (Ex. hitting, slapping, kicking, biting, etc.)
- Controlling and possessiveness (Ex. monitoring location and friends, checking phones and social media accounts without permission, choosing who you can interact with, etc.)
- Threatening or ruining personal property
- Placing the blame on you for any relationship issues
- Forcing or pressuring you to into unwanted sexual activity
If any of those items describe your partner, of if your partner has caused you physical harm, talk to a trusted parent, teacher, mentor, friend, guidance counselor, or counselor. Text, call, or visit with a trusted adult in your life, especially if you are afraid of what may happen if you break off the relationship.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (888-799-7233) can offer support, advocacy, and resources to help you. You deserve a healthy, loving relationship. NO ONE should be treated in a way that is disrespectful and causes physical and emotional pain. True love is respectful, kind, and selfless, not controlling, harmful, and manipulating.
If you are afraid that someone you love is in a violent relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support and advice (888-799-7233). Reach out to a trusted adult or mental health professional for advice and information on how to proceed. When approaching the person in your life that is in an abusive relationship, approach them with love and empathy. Bring observations and questions, not accusations. Let them know that you love them and want to see them in a loving, healthy relationship.
Teenage dating violence is not just an issue for the two people in the relationship, it is a community issue. Information is powerful and can help save lives. It is important to know the warning signs and to know the different resources that are available to help those impacted by teen dating violence.
I encourage you to check out the resources below. Let’s break the cycle of dating violence!