Teen Dating Violence

February_is_Teen_Dating_Violence_Awareness_Month Card IconFebruary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness MonthTop of Page

(Some of the following information has been provided by Catalyst Domestic Violence Services)

With Valentine Day right around the corner, thoughts of love are in the air.  Girls I know what you are thinking, "what will that special guy get for me on February 14th.  Boys, you are thinking, "valentines day is a day that puts pressure on me to get something special for that someone special. "  With decisions to be made, do I purchase a heart full of chocolate, a stuffed bear holding a heart, or a bouquet of flowers,"  why not think instead and talk to your partner about "Appropriate Teen Dating Awareness."

February is actually dedicated to Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  When we think about dating, the furthest thing from our mind could be that maybe we have gotten ourselves into a relationship that is not healthy.  How do we know when we are in a relationship that is healthy vs unhealthy.    

If you think you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, stop by the counseling office to see one of the counselors or you can call 1-800-895-8476 24/7 days a week. There is a poster up in the counseling office and near the attendance office window with the number on it if you want more information.  If you support healthy relationships, stop by the counseling office and pick up a button or sticker decal during the month of February.

February 9th is National Wear Orange Day.  Wear orange to show your support for teen dating violence awareness and prevention.

Facts About Teen Dating
Fact #1: Dating abuse is about one person trying to get power and control over another person.  It can look like your boyfriend or girlfriend not letting a person wear what they want or telling them they look bad in what they are wearing.  
Fact #2: In order to be in a healthy relationship, you must first have a healthy relationship with yourself.  Think of 3 things that are special about you and remind yourself everyday that you are valuable.  Love yourself first and foremost.  
Fact #3: When we we in healthy relationships, we should feel safe.  We should be able to express our feelings and thoughts without fear of being made fun of.  You should feel safe telling your boyfriend or girlfriend that you need space or want to spend time with other people.  Everyone deserves to feel safe! 
Fact #4: Always trust your gut feelings.  If someone makes you feel unsafe you probably are.  Abusive relationships become more dangerous during break ups.  Be sure to tell someone that you are feeling scared and get help from someone you trust.  
Fact #5: In a healthy relationship: you are both open and honest.  Your partner supports you and your choices even when they disagree with you.  Botth of you have equal says in the relationship and respect each other's boundaries.  Your partner understands that you need to study or hang out with friends and family.  You can communicate your feelings without being afraid of negative consequences.  Healthy relationships are fun and feel good!!
Fact #6: 1 in 2 teens in a dating relationship compromise their beliefs to please a dating partner.  It's important to know what your values are so that you know when you are compromising too much.  Values may change over time, but our dating partners should always respect our values and we should not compromise the things that are most important to us.  
Fact #7: Love is respect.  Respect is being able to listen to another person's ideas and beliefs without judging them.  Respect is treating people how you would like to be treated and putting yourself in their shoes to help understand what they are going through.  Respect is always kind and honest and never controlling.  
Fact #8: Jealously is not love.  While jealously is a normal part of every dating relationship, extreme jealousy is unhealthy.  When your dating partner's jealousy changes or controls your behavior, it has gone too far.  We all have the right to have different friends and to spend time apart: when your partner makes you feel guilty for these things their jealousy has become abusive.  
Fact #9: Privacy Matters!! You and your dating partner should never snoop through each other's cell phones or feel pressured to give them passwords for e-mail or social media accounts.  We all have the right to privacy.
Fact #10: Technology such as social media and cell phones are being used more often to control dating partners and monitor who they talk to.  Some warning signs that your partner may be using technology to control you are:
  • They tell you who you can or can't be friends with on FB, instagram, snap chat or other sites.
  • They send you negative, insulting or threatening messages online.
  • They put you down in their social media posts
  • They send you unwanted, explicit pictures and demand you send some in return.
  • They steal or insist you give them your passwords
  • They constantly text you and make you feel like you can't be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.  
  • They look through your phone frequently, check up on your pictures, texts, and outgoing calls.  
If you are in a dating relationship, think about how it makes you feel on a daily basis.  Does the relationship make you feel happy and energized most of the time? Or does it take away your energy and make you upset more often?  Healthy relationships make us feel good MOST of the time while unhealthy relationships make us feel unhappy MOST of the time.  
"Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others" -Benjamin Franklin

In healthy relationships we are not trying or hoping for the other person to change.  

Teen_Dating_Abuse_Warning_Signs Card IconTeen Dating Abuse Warning SignsTop of Page

Because all relationships lie on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when something “crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or unhealthy to abusive. You can use these common warning signs to help you figure out how well your relationship is going.

• Before you met your boyfriend/girlfriend, you had more friends than you do now

• They threaten to break up with your or accuse you of planning to break up with them

• They believe men should be in control and women should do what they're told

• If they text you, you must respond immediately

• They said “I love you” very early in the relationship

• They want your relationship to get too serious, too fast, and won't take “no” for an answer

• They pressure you into having sex or force you to do sexual things you don’t want to do by saying, “If you really loved me, you would...”

• They accuse you of things you have not done

• They are violent in other areas of their life: puts fists through walls, throws things when angry, bangs fists to make a point

• They force you to choose between being with them or your friends and family

• They make excuses for their behavior or say that it’s your fault

• Frequently give you “advice” about your choice of friends, clothes, activities, etc.

• They call you names and then laugh and say “I was only kidding” or “You’re too sensitive”

• You frequently have to explain yourself and are often apologizing for something

• You're afraid of them

• You're not able to express your feelings or opinions

• They threaten to hurt themselves or you if you break up

• They blame past bad relationships on everyone else instead of accepting responsibility