Love Is Not Abusive
With Valentine’s Day freshly gone and relationships and love at the forefront of our minds, it is important to remember why we keep those healthy relationships and throw away those bad ones. But, how do you know if you are in an unhealthy relationship? Did you know that “Kids who witness violence between their parents are at higher-than-average risk to be the abusers–and the abused” (according to Possession Obsession from Teaching Tolerance Magazine). And, which may not be known, boys are equally likely to be the victim of dating violence as girls are.
There are several indicators that may help you determine if you are in an unsafe relationship. For example, if you partner is controlling, perhaps they want you hang out with them and only them and get jealous and angry when you hang out with others of the opposite sex or with you normal group of friends. Often times, when this occurs, you become isolated over time, which can result in you losing friends and then depression.
It is obvious that you are in an abusive relationship if they put you down verbally, physically hurt you, or even pressure you to have sex or acts that are sexual in nature when it is against your will. Even kissing, when there consent (yes!) is not given, is considered abusive. If there is not a “yes” or even slight hesitation, that all means “no” and you should respect your partners decision even if you
don’t agree with it.
LGBTQ youth can be especially vulnerable to unsafe relationships because their need for secrecy may make them not as willing to report abuse compared to straight youth. In addition, they may not know anyone else who is gay and thus don’t feel like they have anyone to talk to that can relate to them and their situation.
Support systems are essential for anyone who is feeling like they may be a victim of dating abuse. Try to make a list of those who you feel comfortable talking to at you schools, in your homes, and in you communities (Henderson House in McMinnville, OR is a great start). Also, if there is a trusted friend you can turn to it helps to set a plan with them, along with creating an identifiable word that is code for if you are feeling threatened so that your friend can act as soon as possible. To find out more information click on this link, which will take you to the Teens Health website. Remember, no one ever deserves to be abused.