If you are a parent whose teenager is starting to date, or a teenager ready to embark on this next stage in life it’s important to understand what a healthy relationship looks like. Unfortunately, 1.5 million high school students nationwide will be involved in some form of abuse in a relationship. Here are some safety tips for teens (and parents) when in a relationship.
It’s important to notice potential signs of dating abuse in a friend or family member’s relationship.
Early warning signs of dating violence or abuse often start off with non-violent behaviors. This can include demanding to know a partner’s location at all times, controlling a partner’s behavior or appearance, forcing the use of drugs or alcohol, or refusing to use contraceptives during sexual encounters.
Since many of today’s relationships occur over social media, controlling behaviors through apps like Facebook, SnapChat, or Instagram can potentially evolve into abusive behavior or domestic abuse when in person.
If someone is threatening or attempting to control you, it’s important to know this behavior from your partner is not your fault.
You should trust your gut and express your fears to a friend or family member, even though this can be a difficult topic to discuss with others. By shedding light on any behaviors you find uncomfortable, you can develop code words or phrases when you need help.
Remember that it’s OK to lie if you feel you need to escape from an uncomfortable situation where you are feeling pressured. But also think of an escape route.
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
Finally, if you have been the victim of physical abuse or sexual violence, get to a safe place, contact your local law enforcement agency, or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673) for the nearest sexual assault service provider in your area or reach out to the Loveisrespect.org Hotline by calling 1-866-311-9474, Texting “loveis” to 22522, or TTY 1-866-331-8453.
OneEighty is also able to provide additional resources for anyone who has been the victim of domestic abuse or sexual violence.