Teen Dating Violence – More Kinds of Abuse

teen_abuseRemember that abusers use power and control over their partner for many reasons and that no one deserves abuse in any form.  No one provokes abuse.  It is a choice.  There are more types of abuse:

                    Financial Abuse can be very subtle.  Your dating partner as no right to use money or tell you how to spend it at any time during the relationship.  Financial abuse is:

  • Giving you an allowance and monitoring what you buy
  • Depositing your paycheck in their account and denying you access
  • Not allowing you to view bank accounts or statements
  • Preventing you from working or taking your car keys
  • Harassing you at work so that you lose your job
  • Refusing to give you money, food, rent, medicine, medical care or clothing, but spending money on themselves
  • Maxing out your credit cards

This is a sign of an unhealthy relationship and emotional or physical abuse usually goes along with it.  Leaving a relationship when you have no control over your finances or zero balance in your bank account can be scary.  Certain organizations can help with recovering control over your finances.  Speak with someone you trust about leaving the relationship, making a safety plan and setting aside funds in a secret location.

Digital Abuse in dating is the use of texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk, or intimidate a partner and is often a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online. NEVER is it okay for someone to make you feel bad, to lower your self-esteem or to manipulate you.  Examples are:

  • Controlling your Facebook friends or friends on other sites
  • Threatening or insulting emails, Facebook posts, tweets, DMs or other online messages
  • Using certain sites to keep constant tabs on you
  • Sending, requesting or demanding unwanted, explicit pictures
  • Forcing you to give him or her your passwords
  • Constantly texting you, making you feel you cannot be separated from your phone for fear you will be punished
  • Frequently checking your phone for pictures, texts and outgoing calls

Remember that your partner should respect your relationship boundaries.  You have the right to turn off your phone, to be alone and spend time with friends and family.  No one can force you to text any pictures or statements that make you uncomfortable. Once your partner receives any electronic message, you lose control.  They may decide to share anything you send.  Do not send anything you do not want seen by others.  Don’t share any of your passwords and know your privacy settings.  When using check-ins like Facebook Places and Foursquare, be cautious.  An abuser’s knowledge of your whereabouts or those or your friends can be dangerous.
Stalking is when a person repeatedly watches, follows or harasses you in a manner that makes you feel afraid or unsafe.  Someone you know, a past boyfriend/girlfriend or even a stranger can be a stalker.  A stalker may:

  • Show up at your home or work unannounced
  • Send you unwanted text message, letters, emails and voicemails or leave unwanted items, gifts or flowers
  • Constantly call you and hang up
  • Track you by using technology or social networking sites
  • Call your employer or school
  • Appear at places you hang out
  • Learn about your life by befriending your friends or through Facebook
  • Damage your home, car or other possessions

Stalking may make you feel stressed, vulnerable or anxious.  Difficulty sleeping or loss of concentration often occur.   3.4 million young adults in the United States are stalked each year and three in four victims are harassed by someone they know.

Call 911 and report all that has happened if you are in immediate danger.  A protective order will make it illegal for the stalker to come near you.  They may also be arrested and convicted.  Save text messages, voicemails, videos, letters, photos, unwanted items or gifts, and emails as evidence.

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