Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

CONTENT WARNING: This article mentions violence and sexual, physical, emotional and psychological abuses.

February is known for many different things, such as Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month, but did you know that it is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month? The month is meant to bring awareness to teenagers in relationships who experience violence because most of the time we don’t think of teens as being in abusive relationships. Unfortunately, one out of every three teens will experience a form of abuse. According to loveisrespect.org, this could be sexual, physical or emotional. What many don’t realize is that these one in three teens are not just women. These statistics include men, women and those in the LGBTQIA+ community. In this article, I hope to bring your attention to all victims of teen dating violence, how to spot red flags, as well as resources on and off campus for those who may experience this.

Dating in our teens has become an extremely confusing time. However, we often confuse red flags with “signs of love.” A researched and surveyed blog from the UK showcases 10 red flags in teenage relationships that we may be unaware of. 

One thing that someone may take as a caring gesture is monitoring your location. Alongside this, a partner may ask where you are and confirm you are where you say you are. Often, this is disguised as a form of “love” and “concern for safety” but this is not always what it may seem to be. This is often used as a form of control and can lead to fights, manipulation and eventually leading to a form of abuse. This may not always happen, however, nobody is truly aware of what their partner is capable of.

Pressuring your partner is not always what we think it is. Pressuring a partner can be seen in various forms of emotional manipulation, such as seeming mad because you don’t want to do something, begging, threatening to leave you, threatening to harm themselves or others, and more. Consent, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is to give permission or approval. This is one of the most important things in a relationship, as it helps us set boundaries as to what’s okay and not okay in a relationship. 

Another form of violence in teenage relationships, and the first thing many think of, is physical violence. Hitting, slapping, biting, hair-pulling, scratching, cutting or any sort of physical harm is classified as physical abuse. Physical abuse can have long-term effects on our bodies, as well as our minds. 

You may be thinking, “I may need help or know someone who may need help, what do I do? Who do I go to?” First and foremost, contact a trusted adult. This person may be a friend’s parents, your parents, a professor or teacher, a coach, a therapist or a boss/manager. This trusted adult that you confide in may be able to help in other ways you or I did not think of. If you decide not to go to a trusted adult, there is a hotline available for you. The Domestic Violence Hotline phone number is 800-799-SAFE or (800-799-3224). The hotline is open 24/7 and is available in over 200 languages through an interpretation service. If you are unable to call, a texting service is available by texting START to 88788. The hotline connects you with representatives who are willing to help you escape an abusive relationship at any time. If for some reason you are unable to reach them by phone, there is a website that you can visit by going to www.thehotline.org. After you reach out to either an adult or the hotline, a safe space is needed. Ask a friend if you can stay at their house for a few days, find a shelter or stay in a friend’s dorm room/apartment. If you cannot do that, try your best to move out. Do not give your partner the location of the new address you choose to stay at. Unshare all locations, turn off SnapMaps, and any other location tracking devices or apps such as AirTags, Find My iPhone/iPad/Watch and Life360. Have a plan in place and pack your belongings when your partner is not around. Have a friend help slowly bring clothes, money and other necessities to the new location. Once this is done, leave whenever you have the chance. This likely will be while your partner is away for an extended period of time. You do not owe an explanation to anyone about anything. The thing you need to do most is protect yourself.

Other resources include https://www.pcadv.org/, which is the website for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV). There, you can find shelters in the state of Pennsylvania that will be able to help.

Abuse is never your fault. It never has been and it never will be. Remind yourself of your worth, because you are worth so much to everyone around you. 

 


Kerry Dillon is a third-year media and culture major with a minor in journalism. KD1009122@wcupa.edu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *