February is National Teen Dating and Violence Prevention and Awareness Month! While our primary focus here at The Peace at Home Shelter is empowering survivors of domestic violence, it’s important to know that relational abuse does not occur only between adults. In fact, it’s estimated that over 1.5 million high school students have experienced physical abuse in their relationships. The cycle of abuse is a learned behavior, and there is not any specific cap determining to or from whom, and where, it can happen.
(Graphic provided by BreaktheCycle, which has a lot of information on both domestic abuse and teen dating violence.)
Many signs of abuse in teenage relationships are similar to domestic abuse. A relationship may be unhealthy or abusive if a partner:
- is extremely jealous/possessive
- has an explosive temper or constant mood swings
- uses technology/social media to stalk, threaten, or intimidate you
- isolates you from family or friends
- lies, ignores, or accuses you falsely of things
- physically inflicts pain or threatens to hurt you
- pressures you to to engage in activities you do not want to do
Any type of abuse is never caused by a survivor’s actions, despite how the abuser may defend themselves. If you or someone you know is at risk, there are many things you can do to get help.
- talk with an adult you can trust about your relationship
- end contact with the abuser/partner
- block abuser on social media
- change your phone number
Surviving and recovering from an abusive relationship takes intentional effort. Having the courage to get help and talk about it is the first step. A support system is very helpful for someone who has experienced dating violence or abuse. There are many resources available to help you navigate what can a scary, unsafe, and emotional situation. If you or someone you know wants to learn more about what teen dating violence can look like, check out Love Is Respect or the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Peace at Home Family Shelter cannot provide shelter to unaccompanied minors. Please contact us at 479-442-9811 if you have any questions or are in need of help.