Teens and Domestic Violence

April 27, 2009
Did you know at least one woman in every three has been beaten, force into sex, or otherwise abuse in her lifetime. Domestic Violence is most prominent among women between the ages of sixteen to twenty-four.

Today, kids ask the question, what is Domestic Violence? Well, I can answer that question for you, Domestic Violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors that one partner uses to get power over the other, and it includes:
Any kind of physical violence or threat.
Emotional or mental abuse, such as playing mind games, making you feel crazy, or constantly putting you down or even criticizing you.
Sexual abuse, including making you do
anything you don’t want to do, refusing to have safe sex or making you feel badly about yourself sexually.

How do you know you are in an abusive relationship?

Does your partner:
Insult you in public and/or in private?
Check up on where you've been and who you've talked to?
Put down your friends and family?
Limit where you can go and what you can do?
Destroy your belongings?
Tell you jealously are a sign of love?
Touch you in ways that hurt or frighten you?
Make all of the decisions and doesn't take your opinion seriously?
Pressure you for sex?
Get too serious about the relationship too fast?
Blame you when they mistreat you?
Concern your friends and family about your safety?
Make promises to change but doesn't follow through?
Prevent you from breaking up with them?
Tell you they can't live without you?
How can you deal with this/these situation(s)?
Know that it is NOT your fault.
Call 911 if you are in danger.
Talk to a trusted friend or family member.
Talk to a trusted adult such as a counselor or teacher.
The more people you tell the safer you will be. How can you help a friend in a domestic violence?
Let them know they are not to blame.

Being a teenager is difficult, as most of us remember. But being a teenager and living in a house infected with domestic violence can have devastating, life-long effects. Teens living with domestic violence face the unique problem of trying to fit in with their peers while keeping their home life a secret. Teens in shelters often face the problem of having to move and begin school in a new place, having to make new friends while feeling the shame of living in a shelter. Needless to say, their family relationships can be strained to the breaking point. The result can be teens that never learn to form trusting, lasting relationships, or teens that end up in violent relationships themselves.

In addition, teens face the same issues as younger children in an abusive family, namely feeling lonely and isolated, growing up too fast, behavior problems, stress related medical and mental health problems, and school problems. Teenagers are also faced with entering into the dating world for the first time. They are formulating their own theories about relationships, and some may not have the best models on which to base a healthy relationship. They have witnessed the cycle of violence with the abuse, apologies from the perpetrator, tensions building and more abuse. Unfortunately, some teenagers may be faced with a higher risk of being victims of dating violence and as mentioned earlier, ending up in violent relationships as adults either as victims or abusers.
“The challenge of domestic violence is clearly bigger than any one of us. But our achievements show that together we can save lives and transform behaviors. With our support, STAND! Against Domestic Violence will continue to succeed in ending domestic violence one family at a time.”

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