Getty Images One-in-three adolescents in the United States is a victim of abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. Let me repeat that: One-third of teenagers in dating relationships are being abused by their partners. Because your partner belongs to you. Because, hey, what the media is selling is that manipulation and control are signs of a healthy relationship, and persevering through rough waters, waiting for loved ones to change their behavior, is commendable. Just listen to the radio.
And this normalization — by way of media and peers — is largely why only one-third of teenagers in abusive relationships are reporting the abuse. Dating patterns are established early. This is people who are coming of age accepting abuse as normal, paving the way for a lifetime of danger. But before we can see a change, we need to see a problem. And because teen dating violence has been so normalized, we really need to start at the basics. Physical Abuse Nearly 1. And 1-in high school students have been purposely hit, slapped, or otherwise physically hurt by a partner.
Ask any person to list off examples of physical abuse, and they come up with plenty right away. If he ever hits you, leave. I wish someone had. Emotional abuse — also often called psychological or verbal abuse — is often the first warning sign that something is amiss in a relationship. Behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation, and stalking all fall under this category.
Without a bruise that you can physically see, it can be a lot harder to recognize this one. Does your partner call you names or use other put-downs, rather than paying you kind attention and uplifting you? Does your partner intentionally embarrass you in public or in front of your family or friends as a means to control your behavior? Does your partner prevent you from seeing or talking with people, especially people that threaten them, like ex-partners?
Does your partner tell you what you can and cannot wear, or otherwise make it clear that they either approve or disapprove of your outfits? Using threats of suicide to manipulate you, causing harm to your pets, destroying your personal belongings, starting rumors about you, and threatening to out you or otherwise spread your secrets?
But sexual abuse goes beyond just rape. Unwanted kissing or touching, nonconsensual rough or violent sex, or using sexual insults dyke, slut, etc. Forcing you to have sex with others, forcing you to have sex in front of others, recording and possibly distributing videos of your sexual activity without your consent, and sending unsolicited or pressuring you to send explicit pictures or text messages is also sexual abuse.
I had enough money for it, and I was in love. But this really, really bothered her. Even though it was a result of our circumstances and not by active — and certainly not manipulative — choice, having all of the control of finances in our relationship gave me a lot of power. And what could feel nice — like having someone pay for your dinner — can turn pretty dangerous pretty quickly, like refusing to pay for your food, rent, medicine, or clothing unless you adhere to certain rules.
If your partner interferes with or controls your finances, then you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Digital abuse — which is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk, or intimidate a partner — is a huge violation of respectful relationship boundaries and presents extra layers of difficulty.
Teenagers go to sleep and wake up to their cell phones — and in some cases, also to abuse. And if the bulk of the abuse is happening — literally! Similarly, incidents of stalking can happen online, too. I know we like to joke about — haha! This is a situation where someone fears for their well-being. After all, the most dangerous time for a person who is being abused is when they try to leave.
Sometimes they just want to talk to a professional about the abuse. And sometimes they might want to obtain a protection order. But sometimes what they really need is to know that someone will support them. You can create one for yourself or you can sit down with someone else to make one.
Want to discuss this further? Login to our online forum and start a post! Fabello, Editor of Everyday Feminism, is a domestic violence prevention and sexuality educator, eating disorder and body image activist, and media literacy vlogger based out of Philadelphia. She holds a B.
She can be reached on Twitter fyeahmfabello. Read her articles here and book her for speaking engagements here. Articles , Posts Tagged With: