Teens should know about dating violence
What is dating violence?
It is the threat or act of physical, sexual or emotional abuse of one partner in a dating relation by the other partner.
Dating violence is diversified. It is not limited to class, community or ethnic groups. Both men and women can be victims.
Most teenagers do not identify it as a problem and think that abuse in an intimate relationship is “normal.” This type of abuse and control can lead to date rape. In date rape, usually the young woman is violently forced to have sex or coerced into sex with threats of losing the relationship with the young man. The results are traumatic.
The effects of dating violence can include harmful words, bruises, broken bones, permanent injury or even death. Self-esteem is always damaged.
Parents should be aware of some warning signs of dating violence, such as unexplained bruises or injuries, withdrawal, low self-esteem, a drop in grades at school and less socializing with friends.
Communication is important. Talk with your teens so they can be prepared in the event a situation turns dangerous. Teach them to deal with anger by avoiding conflict, but if a conflict does arise, resolve it as calmly as possible. Focus on keeping the line of communication open with your teens so they can approach you with any problems or concerns.
Acknowledge that dating violence can be extremely dangerous! For more information, call the Family Support Council at 782-8692.
Editor’s note: Lois Pruneau is a caseworker at the Family Support Council specializing in domestic violence and sexual assault.