February is Dating Violence Awareness Month. Dating violence is when a partner uses power to gain control over the other partner and can occur in four different ways physical, emotional, sexual and stalking. Learning about the four ways and ways to prevent dating violence in adolescents is a way to prevent it from happening in adulthood.
According to Metropolitan Family Services 1 in every 3 teens in the U.S are a victim of dating violence. It happens in every type of relationship and community. When it comes to teen relationships over 80% of those who are in an abusive relationship stay in that relationship. This is partially due to teens not talking to friends or a trusted adult about the abusive behaviors and parents and friends not picking up on the warning signs of these relationships.
Some common behaviors that abusers exhibit are checking a partner’s phone and email without permission, isolating a partner from friends and family, telling a partner what they can and cannot do, having mood swings and having explosive behavior and temper, making false accusations, showing signs of jealousy and insecurities, and physically hurting a partner.
If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, there are many resources to get help. First you can speak to a trusted adult. Locally we have Henderson House which provides services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence victims, they can be reached 24/7 at 503 472-1503 or online at http://www.hendersonhouse.org. If you are looking for other resources on abusive relationships, I have found loveisrespect.org and heasrmyvoice.breakthecycle.org is a great teen resource!