Do you sometimes wonder if the things happening in your relationship are normal? Does the way your partner treat you bother you? If you are not sure if you are in an unhealthy relationship, take a step back and ask yourself:
Does your partner…
- pressure you to make the relationship very serious or have sex early in the relationship?
- act jealous or possessive?
- try to control where you go, what you wear or what you do?
- text or instant message you constantly?
- refuse to consider your point of view or desires?
- keep you from talking to or spending time with close friends or family?
- drink too much or use drugs and then blame the alcohol and drugs for their behaviour?
- threaten to hurt you or their self if you break up with them?
Teen dating abuse is not an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day.
IT IS: a pattern of controlling and abusive behaviour
IT CAN: be verbal and emotional abuse
IT CAN: cause injury or even death
If your partner has said or done something that seemed like a red flag, it probably was. It could become, or may already be abusive. Always remember: you have every right to say no! No one has the right to treat you with anything other than respect. The Teen Dating Bill of Rights will give you a guideline to follow for a healthy relationship.
If you are still unsure if your relationship is abusive and would like advice, you can contact Nova Vita 24/7 for support. We are here for you.
Facts about Dating Violence
- 1 in 4 teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner
- One-third of teen girls say they have been concerned about being physically hurt by their partner
- In an abusive relationship, one person typically uses power and control to gain the upper hand physically, emotionally and/or sexually over their partner
- One-quarter of teens who have been in serious relationships say their boyfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family
- Nearly 1 in 4 girls who have been in a relationship reported going further sexually than they wanted as a result of pressure
- Learning healthy relationship skills greatly reduces your risk of violence with other teens
Watch for Friends who are being Abused
In some cases, teens feel more comfortable confiding in a friend than they would with a parent or other adult, however, it’s not always easy for them to come to you. If you suspect that they are in an abusive relationship, here are some things to consider:
Does your friend…
- constantly cancel plans for reasons that don’t sound true?
- always worry about making their partner angry?
- give up on things that are important?
- show signs of physical abuse like bruises or cuts?
- have a partner that wants them to be available all of the time?
- become isolated from friends or family?
If you think a friend might be in an abusive relationship, try taking an indirect approach to help them open up. Here are some suggestions:
- “You don’t seem as happy as usual – are you okay?”
- “Is there anything you want to talk about?”
If you think your friend is in serious danger, tell an adult you trust immediately. Do not try to handle the situation on your own.
You and your friends should adopt some safe dating practices such as:
- Consider double-dating the first few times you go out with a new person.
- Before leaving on a date, know the exact plans for the evening and make sure a parent or friend knows these plans and what time to expect you home. Let your date know that you are expected to call or tell that person when you get in.
- Be aware of your decreased ability to react under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not leave anywhere with someone you do not know. If you do, make sure you tell another person you are leaving and with whom. Ask a friend to call and make sure you arrived home safely
- Assert yourself when neccessary. Be firm and straightforward in your relationships.
- Trust your instincts. If something makes you uncomfortable, try to be calm and think of a way to remove yourself from the situation.
Even if you are not currently in an unhealthy relationship, it is a good idea to think ahead about ways to be safe if you are in a dangerous or potentially dangerous relationship. Here are some things to consider when designing your safety plan:
- What adults can you tell about the violence and abuse?
- What people at school can you tell in order to be safe – teachers, principal, counsellors, security?
- Consider changing your school locker or lock
- Use a buddy system for going to school, classes and after-school activities
- What friends can you tell to help you remain safe?
- If stranded, who could you call for a ride home?
- Keep a journal describing the abuse
- Get rid of or change the number to any cell phones the abuser gave you
- Consider changing all passwords to any email or social media accounts.
- Keep spare change, calling cards or your cell phone charged, the phone number of a local shelter and a number of someone who could help you at all times
- Where could you go quickly to get away from an abusive person?
- What other things can you do?