Teens will obviously be more inexperienced when it comes to relationship matters. Of course, education about family planning will be important, but there are other pressing matters that deserve attention as well. For instance, teen dating violence and the dangers it presents. While it can be stereotypical to call teens emotional, they are nonetheless facing new experiences that can bring out strong reactions. Conflict resolution will be extremely important in relationships, so that the odds of resorting to violence are minimized.
Causes of dating violence
There can be a number of different reasons why violence erupts among teens who are dating. In some cases, teens may have grew up in a violent household and are both under the impression that abuse is acceptable. A mental health disorder, such as anxiety or trauma, can lead a young person to be more susceptible to such behavior as well. Using controlled substances or alcohol can also increase the risks, especially when teens don’t know how to handle being under the influence due to lack of experience. Teen couples who are sexually active, as well as those who have multiple partners, can also be more prone to abuse. Especially if a teen was exposed instances of domestic violence during his or her childhood.
Forms of abuse
Physical abuse is the most obvious and the hardest to conceal. Of course, if the abused is trying to cover for the abuser, he or she could attempt to make physical signs less obvious. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before facial injuries will be asked about. Teens need to be aware that assault and battery are crimes and that they shouldn’t feel as though they need to stay in a relationship where their physical health and possibly even life is at risk.
There is also verbal abuse, which is constituted by heated shouting matches, name calling and malicious language. This can also occur in the form of threats or intimidation. Whatever the case might be, adolescent couples will need to find more productive and less caustic means of communicating with each other to prevent this.
Sexual abuse includes serious offenses such as rape or any other forced sexual activity without consent. Preventing use of birth control also is included in this category. Young people could also be facing an unplanned pregnancy if they are not using contraception and this can lead to further abuse if one partner is unstable.
Unfortunately, misuse of technology can now lead to online abuse as well. A partner can harass another through a social media site or become possessive of personal items such as a cellphone. Checking another’s phone against his or her will also constitutes abuse, as well as sending digital threats intended to force another to comply. Oftentimes, the abuser will simply let jealousy or paranoia drive his or her behavior to extremes when the couple are physically apart from one another.
Dating violence prevention
Teens who are in an abusive relationship should not hesitate to speak up about it. Oftentimes, the victim will not because he or she still feels his or her partner is worthy of love or perhaps the abuser has made threats if the victim seeks help. Yet if a person close to the victim suspects something is wrong, he or she should take the person aside to speak about it privately. It’s important not to be judgmental, as the person will already be more likely to be on the defensive.
Those in an abusive relationship need to be aware that they are facing serious troubles and that it is not their fault. Victims should also be made aware that they deserve better. The people helping the victim should keep themselves available by phone in case of an emergency. Plans should also be made in advance in case of an emergency; this can include having a public place to go where the victim will be safe. There should also be a code word that the victim can use to let the helper know that something is wrong without the abuser catching on.
Those who have experienced teen dating violence can do their part to help others by joining support groups and advocating efforts to minimize its occurrence. The reality is that dating violence can happen to both adolescents and adults, so young people should never feel embarrassed or that they are alone. White River Academy offers therapeutic treatment for teens facing mental conditions due to abuse. Please contact our admissions team today at 866-520-0905 to learn more.