Teen Relationship Abuse

The Many Types of Abuse In Teen Relationships

No one deserves abuse in any form.  Abusers believe they have the right to control their partner for many reasons.  It is a behavior learned from within their homes or from friends or pop culture.  Abuse is a choice; no one provokes a person to abuse.  It is all about POWER and CONTROL.

Physical Abuse is intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body:

  • Scratching, punching, biting, strangling and kicking
  • Throwing things like a book, phone, shoe, or plate
  • Hair pulling, pushing or pulling, grabbing clothing
  • Using a weapon to threaten or worse
  • Unwanted intimacy
  • Keeping you from leaving or going somewhere

Know that the behavior is wrong and speak with a trusted adult, friend or family member.  Don’t make excuses for the behavior and remember it is NEVER your fault.  Know the warning signs to prevent further abuse and know that the abuse will get worse.

Threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking are considered emotional abuse. A few examples are:

  • Name calling, putting you down, embarrassing you in public
  • Yelling and screaming at you
  • Keeping you from seeing or talking with friends and family
  • Using Facebook or cell phones to control, intimidate or humiliate you
  • Blaming you for their behavior
  • Stalking, threatening to harm you, your pet, or family and friends, or threatening to commit suicide
  • Starting rumors about you

Verbal abuse causes pain and emotional scaring and often leads to physical abuse.  It can be so bad that you begin to believe what your partner says.  You begin to think that you are stupid, ugly or fat, and that no one would want to date you.  Constant criticism will cause you to lose confidence and lowers your self-esteem resulting in self-blame for their behavior.  It is never your fault.  Your partner is trying to control and manipulate you into staying in the relationship.  Talk to someone you trust.

Any act that pressures or coerces you to do something sexual that you did not consent to is sexual abuse.  Just because you did not say “NO,” doesn’t mean that you are saying “YES.”

When someone does not resist unwanted intimacy, it does not mean consent.  The victim may feel that physically resisting may put them at a bigger risk for further abuse.  Some may feel that if the victim does not resist, it is not abuse.  This is a myth and makes it more difficult for the victim to speak out, even blaming themselves.  It is NEVER the victim’s fault, even if they were intoxicated or felt pressured, intimidated, or obligated to act a certain way. Some examples are:

  • Unwanted kissing or touching
  • Roughness or violent activity or even using threats, pressure or force for unwanted intimacy
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Refusing to use protection
  • Taking advantage of someone who is very intoxicated, drugged, unconscious or unable to give a clear and informed “YES” or “NO”

KEEP IN MIND:

  • You have the right to decide what to do with your body.
  • Most victims of sexual assault know the assailant.
  • Both men and women can be victims or perpetrators.
  • It can occur even if a couple has been intimate before. NO is NO.

WHAT TO DO:

  • You will be scared, angry and confused, but know that the incident was in no way your fault. Get to a safe place.
  • Contact someone you know and trust. You will feel fear, guilt, anger and/or shock, so it is important to have support.
  • Report it to law enforcement. Your case will be stronger if you do not alter or destroy any evidence.  Do not shower or change clothes, even if it is difficult.  Bring a friend with you to the police station.
  • Go to the emergency room or health clinic. You will be treated for any injuries and offered medications if needed.

 

There is always help.  For more information, go to www.loveisrespect.org or contact the LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office Victim Advocate at 318-992-2067.

Look for more information on types of abuse next month.

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