October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Unfortunately domestic violence is more common than you might think. When it comes to teens in the US, 12% of high school females and 7% of high school males reported physical violence in the last year. One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Let’s begin by making it clear that domestic violence does not discriminate! All types of people can experience domestic violence no matter of their age, gender, sexual orientation, or economic status.
What is domestic abuse/violence?
Domestic violence has many other names like dating violence, dating abuse, and domestic abuse. Though there are many names, they all refer to the same thing- a pattern of behaviors used to control a dating partner. The CDC defines domestic abuse/violence as physical, sexual, emotional or psychological harm by a current partner, former partner, or spouse. It is normal to fight with your partner sometimes but relationships should NEVERbe abusive, scary, or harmful. It is not always easy to know if you or someone you know is a victim of partner violence, but there are signs we can look for.
What are some of the red flags that signal you or someone might need help?
- Making you feel bad about the way you look or feel
- Verbally threatening you
- Calls you insulting or derogatory names
- Threatens to harm themselves when upset
- Hitting, pushing, slapping
- Restraining or gripping you
- Forcing you to engage in any type of sexual activity
- Using their weight to hold you down
- Pressuring you to do things you don’t want to
For example, saying things like “If you love, you’ll have sex with me”
Other Red Flags
- Controlling behavior
- Tells you what you can and can’t wear
- Regulates who you can hang out with
- Demands your phone or passwords for your phone or social media accounts
What can you do?
If any of these warning signs feel similar to your relationship, check out these resources below. They are also great resources to share with a friend who might be in an unhealthy relationship:
- They are available to chat or take your calls at 1-800-799-7233 24/7/365
- Online chat is available 24/7/365 or you can call at 1-866-331-9474 or text LOVEIS to 22522
October may be National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but if you or someone you know is involved in an abusive relationship, they should get help NOW.
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.