Today I have Jessica from CrimeWire to talk about a very difficult situation, dating violence. She was nice enough to share a little bit about her own personal experience with dating violence as a teen and a great infographic to show you just how important it is to talk to your teens about this difficult subject.
Before I turn it over to Jessica, I wanted to share something I saw the other day that I thought was interesting. Most abusers do not start abusing right away, they usually wait about 18-24 months. When previous abusers were asked about when they start abusing, they were able to collaborate and come up with an idea time frame, meaning there is no excuse for an abuser, they are not angry or drunk, this is their plan. The idea is to groom the individual they are going to abuse and isolate them from others, making them believe there is no way out.
If you or someone you know is a victim of teen dating violence call 1-866-331-9474, chat at loveisrespect.org or text “loveis” to 22522, any time, 24/7/365. For more teen dating violence resources, visit The Domestic Abuse Hotline.
I will let Jessica take it from here.
When we think of domestic abuse, most of us probably don’t realize that a large portion of victims are teenagers.
Young, naive, girls often get caught up in scary situations that they are unable to get themselves out of. These girls think that they can “change” their partner, or “save” them in some way. But the unfortunate reality is that they are simply programming themselves to accept an unhealthy relationship dynamic centered on guilt, shame, and abuse.
I know firsthand what it’s like to get caught up in one of these relationships. When I was younger, I found myself in an abusive relationship that I didn’t know how to deal with. Fortunately I got out of that situation by refusing to let my attacker leave me isolated and afraid. I posted his threatening messages on Facebook, so everyone in my network could see what he was doing. Since abusers often rely on being able to control their victims through fear, intimidation, and isolation, this kept me connected to my close friends, and also kept them in the loop about what was really going on. Too many victims suffer in silence, and they will not talk to their friends and family about what’s really going on behind the scenes in their relationship.
After he physically assaulted me, I realized how serious my situation was. I was constantly afraid, looking over my shoulder all day and night. Finally I filed for a restraining order against him. While this is a lengthy, emotional process, it is a surefire way to keep an abuser away from you. Many victims don’t take this important step because they aren’t fully ready to cut all ties to their abuser. But getting legal protection is an important step in safely getting away.
Unfortunately, my story isn’t unique. A staggering 25% of all female high school students report that they’re been hit or sexually assaulted by someone they were dating. This is why February has been named Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, and it is now more important than ever that we shine a light on this dark issue and take action towards a solution.
Please share this infographic from CrimeWire to help raise awareness, and prevent future generations of young girls from getting caught in the cycle of abusive, unhealthy relationships.
Jessica Ruane is a savvy, San Diego blogger, editor, and cat enthusiast. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and has a die-hard passion for the written word. She has written for several online publications including Lifehacker and CrimeWire and specializes in writing about dating and relationships.