Teen dating violence is a major problem in this country, and it keeps getting worse all the time. According to the CADV (Coalition Against Domestic Violence), 40% of teenage girls, ages 14-17, say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend. One in three high school girls have been or will become involved in an abusive relationship. It also stated that in 1995, 7% of all murder victims were young women killed by their boyfriends. These are shocking statistics. As long as these abusive cycles occur in a family, the abuse will continue.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A TEEN GOING THROUGH DATING VIOLENCE:
- First, know that you never, ever deserve to be mentally or physically abused by anyone no matter what!
- Break up with him right away at home where it is safe when your parents are home with you.
- Tell your parents what has been going on. They can help you with whatever situation you run into.
- After you break up with him, do not go anywhere alone. Always have your parents or friends around you.
- After you break up with him, and you are of driving age, if he ever gets behind you in his car and tries to get you to stop to talk with him, do not stop! Go to a very public place, and have them call the police. Stay there until the police get there, and stay there until the police give you instructions on what to do, and how you will get home safely.
- If you have a cell phone and ever need to, call 911!
SIGNS THAT YOUR TEEN COULD BE THE SUBJECT OF TEEN VIOLENCE:
- Bruises or marks on her.
- She will be afraid of the person she is dating.
- She will not want you to meet him.
- Damaged self-confidence.
- Bad concentration or stress.
- If you find marks on her, she will make other excuses instead of blaming them on her abuser.
- Any drastic change in her personality.
- Signs of hiding things from you (emotionally or physically).
- Lies (to cover up other things).
SIGNS TO WARN A PARENT THAT YOUR DAUGHTER MAY BE DATING AN ABUSER:
- Temper tantrums for no reason.
- Extreme jealousy.
- Her boyfriend always tells your daughter what to do.
- He will not want to come over or meet you.
- When he is angry, he will blame it on your daughter and tell her it is her fault.
- He will always have an excuse for his actions.
- He will always need to know where your daughter is at.
- If she has a cell phone, he will call her constantly, wondering where she is and who she is with.
- Possible sexual abuse could be involved.
- Possible drug or alcohol use could be involved.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND OUT YOUR TEEN IS A VICTIM OF DATING VIOLENCE:
- Call a counselor in your area, and they can help you with options on what to do, and help you and your teen deal with the situation at hand.
- If you need more immediate help, call your local crisis center, which is listed in the front of the phone book, and they will lead you in the right direction.
- If you need emergency help, call 911 immediately!
Teen violence abusers stem from seeing it at home. If a teen sees his father abusing his mother, he will learn the cycle of abusing his girlfriend and wife someday. These cycles will continue through generations, unless one person has the courage to stand up and say, "This is not right! This has to stop now!" And only then can the abusive cycle be broken, and future generations can lead productive lives.