Teen dating violence awareness month
By Connie Powers, 366th Fighter Wing Medical Group
/ Published February 05, 2013
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- One in three teens will experience abuse in a dating relationship and more than two-thirds of them will never tell their parents or report it to anyone.
Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.
Calling dating violence a pattern doesn't mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence, it just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time. This pattern begins with tension building between the teen and their dating partner. Next, the tensions reaches a breaking point, resulting in an outburst of violence such as emotional, psychological, verbal, physical and, or sexual abuse. After the explosion the abuser apologizes, trying to make up with his or her partner and shifts the blame for the explosion to someone or something else. This last phase is referred to as the honeymoon stage.
Every relationship is different, but one thing that is common to most abusive dating relationships is the violence escalates over time and becomes more and more dangerous for the young victim.
What kinds of behavior should you be looking for in the partners of your teenage children? The following could be behaviors by a partner in an abusive relationship: extreme jealously or insecurity; an explosive temper; snooping (checking cell phone or email without permission); checking up on them constantly (calling, texting); gives too much too soon (overwhelming attention, advanced feelings for a young relationship); constant put-downs; taking control of finances; isolating them from people they care about; mood swings; online harassment; threats to commit suicide/cutting/self-harm; stalking; makes them feel incompetent or worthless; uses drugs or alcohol as an excuse for being hurtful; or makes them feel trapped in the relationship.
You might be in an abusive relationship if you experience the following: feel scared by your partner's actions; make excuses for your partner's behavior; feel that your partner will change if you change; avoid doing anything that might cause conflict or make your partner angry; feel that your partner is never happy with you; always doing what your partner wants to do, ignoring your own desires and wishes; or fear what your partner might do if you leave.
For more information check out the Family Advocacy display booths at the 366th Medical Group and Base Library (all month), and Feb. 15 at the Base Exchange. The following websites provide more information on teen dating violence: loveisrespect.org; www.breakthecycle.org; thatsnotcool.com; futureswithoutviolence.org; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/overview/index.html.