Teen Dating Violence
Teen dating violence is what happens in a teen dating relationship when one person uses abuse to gain power and keep control over his or her partner. This abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. The following information is from The Office of Circuit Court of Cook County, IL.
ABC's of Teen Dating Violence
- Anyone can be a victim of dating violence. Teens who are wealthy or not, religious or not, straight or not. It makes no difference what race or ethnic background a person is. Anyone can be a victim. Anyone can be an abuser.
- Be safe. Be a survivor, not a victim. Understand the three types of abuse.
- Control. Abuse is about control, not love. Learn the difference. Be safe.
- Dating violence is a consistent pattern of verbal (or emotional) abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse.
- Emotional abuse can be as serious as physical abuse. Does your partner call you names? Humiliate you? Isolate you from your friends? Make all the decisions? Threaten you? Make you afraid?
- Family and friends can help you. Don't keep any abuse secret. The more people who know, the safer you are.
- Get help. Call a domestic violence program. You are not alone.
- Help your friends who may be victims. They need you as a friend now more than ever.
- Intervention and prevention begin with you. Do not accept any abuse from anyone or to anyone.
- Judges know the problems of dating violence. If you have to get an order of protection to be safe, do it.
- Kicking, hitting, and punching are types of physical abuse. Once is too many.
- Love should be special. It is never controlling. It is never about one person telling the other person what to think, do, or how to act.
- Murder is the ultimate horror of dating violence. It is the cause of 24% of teen homicides.
- No one likes being hit. Victims are afraid to leave abusers because they are afraid of being hit harder. Leave. Be a survivor.
- Orders of protection tell the abusers what they can and cannot do.
- Physical abuse doesn't always leave bruises, but it always leaves scars.
- Qualified counselors are available to help teen dating violence victims 24 hours a day. Call now for support.
- Read and remember everything you can about dating violence. It could be a real lifesaver.
- Sexual abuse can be anything from ruining your reputation, to touching you improperly, to rape.
- Tell. The abuser wants you to think that no one will believe you and that no one else cares about you. The abuser is wrong. People believe and they care. Abuse should not be a secret. Tell.
- Understand that you are not alone: friends, family, teachers, police, judges, are all there to help.
- Victory is in becoming a survivor. You do not have to be a victim. Only you can begin to make that change.
- Winning the battle against teen dating violence is everyone's job. Listen to your friends. You can make a difference.
- X-rays don't show all the hurt. Teen dating violence hurts everyone. Help stop the hurt.
- Yearly, about 40% of all teens are dating violence victims. Don't be a statistic.
- Zero tolerance is the only acceptable level of teen dating violence.
If you or someone you know is being abused, one agency to call for assistance is the Victim Center at 417-864-7233. Don't let the abuse continue.