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Teen Dating Violence For our young members, survivors, and concerned parents
Posted 11 March 2003 - 02:30 PM
Posted 23 August 2002 - 12:29 AM
I have found some terrific info on teen dating violence in a book, and decided I to copy some excerpts from it in the hope that it might be of use to:
2.Older survivors of teen rape/violence by boyfriends,
3.Parents of a teen who is being or has been abused by her boyfriend.
Knowledge is power, honeys, so here goes:
Teen Dating Violence
(From "When Violence Begins at Home: A Comprehensive guide to Understanding and Ending Domestic Abuse" by K.J. Wilson Ed.D, 1997).
"Numerous studies in the 1980's confirmed...Young women were in danger from their teenage boyfriends and in such high numbers as to elicit shock from the research community. Approximately one out of ten high school students experiences physical violence in dating relationships. Among college students, the figure rises to 22 per cent".
Unique aspects of Teen Dating Violence
"While young couples in violent relationships share some commonalities with their older counterparts, there are several youth-specific aspects to their relationship. Pressure to conform to peer group norms contributes to an emphasis on having a dating partner.
Teenagers have fewer resources and much less mobility than do most adults. Young women are often unable to avoid the abusers because they attend the same school. They are not free to move out of their neighbourhoods or change schools. This contributes to a young women's feelings of fear and entrapment.
The Affects of Teen Dating Abuse
Young women respond to the trauma of dating violence with anger, fear and surprise.
Rape has a devastating impact on the mental health of survivors.
Some of the most common responses following rape or battering are anxiety, depression, disruption of social function, problems in sexual function, suicide attempts, sleep disturbances, hostility, somatic complaints, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms (i.e. repetitious washing or checking things). In addition, young women often experience confusion combined with feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.
Symptoms unique to teenage survivors are sudden personality changes, drops in school performance, withdrawal from school or social activities, flagrant promiscuous behaviour, sudden phobic behaviour, self-destructive or risk-taking behaviour, drug or alcohol abuse, development of eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, and alienation from peers or family.
Teenage rape survivors face four major issues.
First, there is a sense of loss of personal integrity. This can be devastating to a young women who is still in the process of defining who she is and separating from her parents. When this work is interrupted, there is often a regression to the safety of earlier stages of development.
Second, teenagers have a need to believe they can control their environment. Rape or battering upsets a teenager's perception of her ability to control her world and affects her ability to trust in herself, others, and the world around her.
Third is the damage to a teenager's emerging sexual identity. A rape experience may have serious repercussions for future sexual encounters, as later sex may be coupled with he feelings of violation.
The fourth issue deals with the damage dome to a young woman's self-esteem. A young women is likely to internalise blame for the rape or battering. False assumptions such as "I am bad", or "I deserve to be raped or battered" reinforce an already shaky sense of self and can lead to severe self-esteem problems.
It can be very difficult for teenagers to determine whether a relationship is abusive i.e. they may interpret jealousy as affection.
The questionnaires that follow can help teenagers and parents make assessments and get help.
Are You In an Abusive Relationship?
Are you dating some one who is:
* Jealous and possessive towards you, won't let you have friends, checks up on you or just won't accept breaking up?
* Tries to control you, is bossy, gives orders, makes all the decisions, or doesn't take your opinion seriously?
* Is scary, threatens you or uses or owns weapons?
* Is violent and has a history of fighting, looses his or her temper quickly or brags about mistreating others?
* Pressures you for sex, is forceful or scary around sex, thinks women are sex objects, tries to manipulate you into having sex by
saying things like "If you really loved me you would..." or gets too serious about the relationship too fast?
* Abuses drugs or alcohol and pressures you to use them?
* Blames you when he/she mistreats you? Says you provoked them, pressed their buttons, made them do it, led them on?
* Has a history of bad relationships and blames the other people for all the problems?
* Believes that men should be in control and powerful and that women should be passive and submissive?
* Makes your family or friends worry about your safety?
If you answered yes to several of these, chances are you're in an abusive relationship. Another good measurement for this is simply to ask yourself "do I feel like I'm being mistreated?" If you answer yes to this question, then you are.
There are many kinds of abuse from "joking" remarks about women to tickling, forced sex, slapping, pushing and threatening with weapons.
Emotional abuse can be particularly confusing, especially when it takes the form of friendly playing around. Teasing is a good example. If you feel embarrassed, hurt, humiliated or inadequate as a result of your partner's comments, you are being emotionally abused.
If any of the above have happened, it's important to take it seriously. It means he or she is trying to control you, and there's a good chance it will get worse unless you do something about it.
Every teenager has certain rights and responsibilities in a dating relationship. These rights are part of all nurturing caring and loving relationships. Some of these rights and responsibilities are listed below:
* To refuse a date without feeling guilty
* To ask for a date and accept no as an answer
*To say no to physical closeness
* To end a relationship
* To have an equal relationship
*To have friends other than your dating partner
* To participate in activities that don't include your dating partner
* To have your own feelings and be able to express them
* To set limits-that is to say yes or no or to change your mind if you choose
* To have your limits, values, feelings and beliefs respected
* To say "I love you" without having sex
* To be heard
* To be yourself, even if it is different from everyone else or from what others want you to be
If you partner is hurting you and you're not sure what to do about it, an excellent first step is to reach out to people who can help you. Battered women's centres throughout the country help teenagers just like you. No matter how alone you may feel, there are lots and lots of people out there who have gone through what you're going through.They understand how hard this may be for you and all the confusion you may feel.
The (US) telephone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800)799 SAFE.
(Not to Forget RAINN, see top of this page; for international crisis lines see this thread: http://www.welcometobarbados.org/CGI-BIN....opic=15 )
Call the hotline and they will give you the number of the centre nearest you. You won't have to give your name unless you want to. Remember that the people at the centre will work with you to help you to get safe and stay safe.
For Parents: Is your Teenager in an Abusive Relationship?
Asking your daughter the following questions in a warm, supportive manner may help her open up to you about her situation"
* What happens when your partner doesn't get his/her way?
* Is your partner extremely jealous?
* Does your partner ever threaten you?
* Does your partner ever tell you what to wear, how to do your hair, or how to wear your makeup?
* Does your partner ever try to hold you down, push you, or hit you?
* Does your partner ever try to keep you from seeing other friends or from doing things you'd like to do?
Really try to listen to your daughter without judging, assuming or giving advice. Let her talk about her partner and don't let your anger get the best of you when she tells you what a wonderful or loving person her partner is. Try to understand that she can both love and hate her dating partner.
Listening this way will help ensure that she does not become isolated from you and thus more dependent on her abusive partner.
Let her know you love and support her.Make sure she knows that no-one has the right to support her, and that you are concerned for her safety.
What Teenagers Do and Don't Need from Family and Friend
In relating to a teenager, don't:
* Be critical of the teenager or her partner
* Ask blaming questions such as "what did you do to make him hit you?" Or "Why don't you just break up?"
* Pressure her to make decisions
* Talk to both teenagers together (the abused partner will not talk freely)
* Listen to and believe her
* Take her relationship seriously
* Offer to go with her to get professional help
* Let her know that violence under any circumstances is unacceptable
* Let her know she has the right to be loved without violence
* Be a role model for healthy relationships
* Help her obtain legal and other protection (such as getting a restraining order, filing charges or changing phone numbers).