One in three adolescents in the United States is a victim of abuse from a dating partner. The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional or verbal. With advances in technology, there are new forms of abuse to watch out for your teens.
Signs of Dating Abuse
Abuse can take many forms and may seem innocent at first. The abuser may keep tabs through constant texting or apps that allow tracking through GPS. Abusers become angry if they can’t get ahold of their victim.
Disrespect may be one of the first signs of abuse. Rebecca Sauer, counselor at Catholic Charities says, “Put downs, name calling or saying bad things about someone maybe a sign of abuse.” Victims begin to believe the put downs and feel bad about themselves. This in turn can lead victims to believe the abuse is their fault.
The abuser may control the way the victim dresses, acts and where they go. Victims often become isolated from their friends.
Both Genders are Capable of Abuse
Males and females can both be abusers. “When someone is calling all of the time demanding to know where you are and what you are doing, it moves into dangerous territory,” says Sheryl Christianson senior programs manager of My Sisters' Place, a Catholic Charities domestic abuse shelter. “If it’s a girl, we think no big deal, but if it’s the guy, we think stalker. We have to allow society to treat them equally.”
Dating Abuse Check List for Parents
Any major changes in your child’s behavior or personality are signs that abuse may be happening and should be treated seriously. If you notice any of the following behaviors in your child, please take time to look into it further.
- Unexplained marks or bruises.
- Excessive emails or texting or anxiety over missing calls or messages.
- Changes in interest and activities, including time with family.
- Old friends being replaced with a new set of friends (that came with new relationship)
- You child’s boy/girlfriend appears overly jealous, possessive or controlling.
- Dramatic changes in clothing and hair choices.
If you suspect your teenager is in an abusive relationship, please call our counseling program. Our counselors can assist you in talking to your teen and helping them heal from the abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence in a relationship, please contact us to get help today. We are available 24 hours a day at 480-821-1024.