Source: SafeNet Erie
One in four teens is abused in a dating relationship. Knowing what services are available, and whom it is safe to talk to are precautions we can take right now. Even if you are not ready to end the relationship, you can make choices that help keep you safer. Here are some things to do if you think you might be in an abusive relationship:
- Trust Your Instincts: if you feel uncomfortable, pressured, or controlled by your partner, you may be with an abusive person.
- Introduce Your Partner to Your Parents: if your partner knows you are close to your family, they may think twice about becoming violent with you.
- Do Not Allow Your Partner to Control Your Life: you should be able to choose your clothes, friends, activities, etc. This initial control leads to other types of abuse.
- Make Sure You Have Your Own Money: to pay your own way or at least enough to get home, or to make a phone call to a friend or family member.
- If You Suspect That Your Partner is Abusive: don’t be alone with him/her. Stay in public places and arrange for another ride home.
- Do Not Allow Yourself To Be Isolated: from your friends and family. You will need their support if your partner becomes violent or cruel to you.
- If Abuse (Physical, Sexual or Emotional) Occurs, Don’t Keep it a Secret: Tell your parents, teachers, counselors, friends, and even the police.
- One Slap or One Push Will Lead to Other Forms of Physical Abuse: If your partner has hit you once, it will happen again. Abusers always say, “I didn’t mean it. I won’t do it again.” But they do.
- The Longer You Stay With an Abuser, the Harder it is to get Away: Your self-esteem will be lowered, and the abuser will be more desperate, controlling, and possessive as time goes on.
- If You Need Help Getting out of an Abusive Relationship, Ask for it: Abusers often threaten to hurt or kill you. Abusers may stalk and hunt down their victims.
- Know the phone number of police, the local domestic violence program, and other available resources.
You can call the Teen Dating Abuse Hotline, a 24 hour resource that utilizes telephone and web-based interactive technology to reach teens and young adults experiencing dating abuse. The Helpline numbers are: (866) 331-9474 and TTY (866) 331-8453. The peer to peer online individual chat function is available from 4 p.m. to midnight and can be accessed from the website at www.loveisrepespect.org.
If You Are Being Abused
- Believe in yourself and trust your feelings – if you feel you were abused, you were abused. “
- Remember that the abuse is not your fault – no one deserves to be hurt.”
- It may be hard to break up, but think how bad things could be if you don’t. Abusive relationships usually get worse, not better.”
- Get medical attention and documentation if you’ve been physically hurt: your school nurse can help.”
- Talk to someone – a trusted friend, a teacher, or a counselor. It’s easier to take steps with the support of others.”
- Don’t be ashamed to let your parents know what’s going on.”
- Don’t go anywhere alone if you feel you’re in danger.”
- Talk to your guidance counselor or the school principal. Maybe they can change your classes so you can avoid your abuser.”
- You may be able to get a PFA (Protection From Abuse order). Call the PFA clinic at SafeNet for your options – (814) 455-1774.”
For more information about Domestic Violence and Safety, visit SafeNet Erie’s website at http://www.safeneterie.org.