Where Can a Teen Find Help When in an Abusive Dating Relationship?

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Almost one third of teenagers say they've experienced dating violence. This includes both female and male teens. This includes sexual abuse, physical abuse, or threats of physical harm to a partner or self.

Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Dating violence often starts with teasing and name calling, behavior often thought of as a “normal” part of a relationship. These behaviors can often lead to more serious violence like physical assault.

Healthy relationships should be built on respect. Friends give it and receive it. Healthy relationships also include trust, honest communication, space to be an individual, compromise, and problem solving together.

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Learn how to recognize the signs of abuse and what can be done to prevent it. Teach yourself, your friends, your children.

  1. Warning signs of an abusive relationship:
  2. Insults you or calls you names.
  3. Threatens or intimidates you in order to get their way.
  4. Controls you by telling you what to wear, what to do, or how to act.
  5. Has trouble controlling feelings like anger.
  6. Blames you for his / her anger.
  7. Prevents you from spending time with your friends or family.
  8. Serious drug or alcohol use.
  9. History of violent behavior.

It is important for teens and young adults to have a safety plan as a way out of a relationship that turns abusive:

  1. Talk to someone that you can trust. Another friend, a parent, a teacher.
  2. Plan in advance to have a safe place to go.
  3. Keep money and your cell phone or calling card with you at all times.
  4. Memorize important numbers in case your phone is taken.
  5. Establish a code word or sign so family, friends, and co-workers know when to call for help.

    Resources
    National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
    Sexual Assault Hotline1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
    That's Not Cool Campaign -- Videos about relationships.
    National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
    Choose Respect Initiative

    Sources
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Jennifer Ann's Group
    DoSomething.org

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