Dating and Teen Abuse

Dating Violence

If you are in a relationship and you are beginning to question whether this relationship is really what you want, you might have asked yourself “How will I know if my relationship is healthy?” Sometimes it is very difficult to know the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship. While all couples have their arguments and disagreements, it is the degree to which these arguments become harmful that is most important. Are you feeling confused between how you feel and what your partner is telling you that you ought to be feeling? Does your partner listen to your cares and concerns, or are you fears and thoughts being discarded as if they are unimportant. Whose wishes are being respected? In 2008, dating violence represented 7% of the total violent crimes in Canada. Between 2004 and 2008, rates of police reported dating violence increased steadily for both women (increase of 40 %) and men (increase of 47 %). If you are curious whether your relationship is a healthy one, click on any one of the tabs for dating violence and do the quiz for yourself. Be honest with yourself and how you are feeling. No one else will know how you scored, but you will. If the indicators are telling you that your relationship is unhealthy and you want help, call us. You are not alone. We can help.

Teen Abuse

If you are a teenager in an abusive relationship, you will face the same pain and hardships as adults. In your relationships, here are some warning signs to look for:
Your partner may be abusive if s/he:

  • Won’t let you talk to other men/women even if they are your friends. S/he is very jealous.
  • Continually criticizes what you wear and what you do.
  • Likes to scare you by driving fast or doing reckless things.
  • Wants to know where you are and whom you are with at all times.
  • Tells other people about things you did or said that embarrasses you or makes you feel weak or stupid.
  • Gets “carried away” during horseplay and hurts you, or holds you down and makes you feel helpless until you give in or feel humiliated.
  • Becomes very angry about trivial things – like not being ready on time for a date or wearing the “wrong” clothes.
  • Criticizes your friends and asks you to stop seeing them.
  • Is often depressed or withdrawn but won’t talk about his/her feelings
  • Comes from an abusive home.
  • Becomes angry or violent when using alcohol or drugs.
  • Forces you to do anything sexually that you don’t feel ready to do –either by physical force or by put-downs, threats to leave or other emotional pressures.
  • Continually tells you you’re stupid, lazy, fat, ugly, a slut and so on.
  • Has traditional ideas about what men and women should be and do.
  • Makes degrading jokes about others or displays interest in others to make you scared or upset.
  • Makes threats about hitting you, hurting your friends or pets, or killing himself/herself if you don’t obey him/her. Or if s/he has EVER hit you, no matter how sorry s/he was afterwards

You may have become a victim of abuse if you:

  • Feel you can’t live without him/her.
  • Stop seeing other friends or family, or give up activities you enjoy because s/he doesn’t like them.
  • Feel like you have to “walk on eggshells” to keep him/her from getting angry.
  • Are afraid to tell him/her your worries and feelings about the relationship.
  • Stop expressing opinions if s/he doesn’t agree with them.
  • Feel that you are the only one who can help him/her and that you should try to “reform” him/her.
  • Stay because you feel that s/he will kill himself/herself if you leave.
  • Believe that his/her jealousy is a sign of love.
  • Feel that you cannot tell anyone what s/he is doing to you because you think they won’t take you seriously or believe you or that they will think you are stupid to stay with him/her and that you deserve to be abused.
  • Believe that critical things your boyfriend/girlfriend says to make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Believe that there is something wrong with you if you don’t enjoy sexual things s/he makes you do.
  • Believe in the traditional ideas of what a man and woman should be and do – that the man makes the decisions and the woman pleases the man.

If you feel you may be becoming a victim of abuse, your need to have a boyfriend/girlfriend and the problems you may face if you reveal your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s behaviour, especially if you love him/her, may keep you silent and caught in a dangerous situation.

Try to remember that NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO CONTROL ANOTHER PERSON and that IT IS EVERYONE’S HUMAN RIGHT TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR.

Talk to someone you trust. Keep trying until you find someone who will help you and respect your right to make decisions for yourself.

Date Rape

The rates of date rape appear to be continuously on the rise. In 1985, one out of every 6 college women reported experiencing unwanted sexual experiences with a partner that they were on a date with. However, in 2010, 4 out of every 5 college women report experiencing unwanted sexual experiences, also known as date rape. Of these women, only 27% recognized it as date rape and 84% knew their assailant.

The term sexual assault is a legal term that has been used in Canada. It means that any form of sexual contact without your voluntary consent is illegal.

There are three different types of sexual assault. They are as follows:

  • Level 1 – Sexual assault – no or minor physical injury – max 10 years
  • Level 2 – Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to third party or causing bodily harm – max 14 years
  • Level 3 – Aggravated sexual assault – wounding, maiming, disfigurement or endangering victims life – max life sentence

Attitudes and myths that encourage sexual assault

  • Women say no but mean yes.
  • All women like a man who is pushy and forceful.
  • How a woman dresses… she is asking to be raped.
  • Rapists are crazed by sexual desire.
  • Women want to be forced.

Motives for Sexual Assault

  • Anger – 40%
  • Power – 55%
  • Sadistic – 5%

Date rape not only has the emotional consequences as a result of the assault, there are medical issues that need to be addressed. If you have been sexually assaulted, you need to contact your Police Department or the Sexual Assault Treatment Centre (usually at the hospital in your area).

DO NOT TAKE A SHOWER OR CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES before you have been seen by a medical professional.

While pregnancy in the past was the greatest fear and concern, STDs and STIs are more of a concern now than ever before. Sexually transmitted diseases and infections that go untreated make you into a carrier of that disease or infection. As a result, in the future you may infect your partner and not realize that you are a carrier yourself. HIV and Hepatitis C are just a few of the major concerns. See a doctor immediately.

Date rape also has consequences for your future sexual relationships. By talking about it now and working with a counsellor now, you can avoid some of the major traumatic issues later in your life. GIVE US A CALL….WE ARE HERE TO HELP

IS MY RELATIONSHIP ABUSIVE?

Because many survivors grew up in homes where abuse was the norm, they often have a hard time identifying and acknowledging abuse in their adult life. In Getting Free Ginny NiCarthy give some guidelines for recognizing abusive relationships.

SIGNS OF PHYSICAL ABUSE
Has your partner done any of these things to you?

  • Pushed or shoved you
  • Held you to keep you from leaving, or locked you out of the house
  • Slapped, bit, kicked or choked you
  • Hit or punched you
  • Thrown objects at you
  • Abandoned you in dangerous places
  • Refused to help you when you were sick, injured or pregnant
  • Subjected you to reckless driving or kept you from driving
  • Raped you
  • Threatened or hurt you with a weapon

SIGNS OF SEXUAL ABUSE
Has your partner done any of these things to you?

  • Made demeaning remarks about women/men/gays/lesbians
  • Treated you as a sex object
  • Been jealously angry
  • Insisted you dress in a more sexual way than you wanted
  • Minimized the importance of your feelings about sex
  • Criticized you sexually
  • Insisted on unwanted touching
  • Withheld sex and affection
  • Called you names like “whore, frigid, pimp, bastard”
  • Forced you to strip when you didn’t want to
  • Publicly shown interest in others
  • Had affairs with others after agreeing to monogamy
  • Forced sex
  • Committed sadistic sexual acts
  • Forced sex after beating

SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE
Has your partner done any of these things to you?

  • Ignored your feelings
  • Ridiculed your values, beliefs, religion, race, heritage, or class
  • Withheld approval or affection as a punishment
  • Criticized you, called you names, shouted at you
  • Insulted your family or friends
  • Humiliated you
  • Refused to socialize with you
  • Kept you from working, controlled your money, made all decisions
  • Refused to work or share money
  • Taken car keys or money away
  • Regularly threatened to leave or told you to leave
  • Threatened to hurt you or your family
  • Punished the children when he/she was angry at you
  • Threatened to kidnap the children if you left him/her
  • Abused pets to hurt you
  • Manipulated you with lies and contradictions

Although some items are clearly more dangerous than others, almost all of them are potentially dangerous, and all show a lack of respect and an effort to intimidate and control you. One problem with accepting a certain level of abuse is that there’s a tendency for the abusive person to interpret it as permission to escalate the assaults into more dangerous and frequent acts. You’re the only one who can decide how much is too much and what you’re ready to do about it, but it’s important to recognize what’s being done to you and to know that you don’t have to take it.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN DATING

  1. Do you often feel worse about yourself after you’ve been with the person you are dating?
  2. Does the person you date ignore or put you down?
  3. Does s/he make a fuss when her/his feelings are hurt, but not notice when s/he has hurt your feelings?
  4. Is the person you are dating unable to express affection, except when apologizing for hurting you and when s/he wants sex?
  5. Can you identify particular characteristics of your dating friend that you dislike or make you uneasy?
  6. Are many of the basic characteristics of your “dream partner” lacking in the person you are dating?
  7. Is your date displeased or threatened by your accomplishments and ambitions?
  8. Does the person you date mainly talk and seldom listen?
  9. Does the person you date have few other friends? Is s/he uncomfortable with you having separate friends?
  10. Does the person you date lose his/her temper suddenly over small things?
  11. Is it difficult to have interests beyond each other?
  12. When angry does the person you date break or throw things?
  13. Does the person you date want to know personal details about your previous relationships?
  14. Does the person you date expect an account of your activities when you’ve been out without him/her?
  15. If you stay out late, does the person you are dating get suspicious and/or insist on an explanation?
  16. Does the person you date think s/he should make the important decisions?
  17. Does the person you date think there are any circumstances in which it’s okay to hit a partner?
  18. Is the person you date jealous of your friends or relatives?
  19. Does the person you date think you’re going to “cheat” on him/her when you talk to or dance with a friend?
  20. Does the person you date take over when you’re having trouble doing something, whether you want help or not?
  21. When the person you date is upset, does s/he throw a tantrum or sulk in silence?
  22. Does your date put you down or make insulting comments about the opposite sex?
  23. Does the person you date discourage your desire to continue your education?
  24. Was your date an abused child or a witness to a parent being abused by the other?

CONSIDER THE RESULTS

  • If you can answer “yes” to 3 of the above questions, you and your partner should talk about these issues.
  • If you can answer “yes” to 5 of the above questions, there is the potential for abuse in your relationship.
  • If you can answer “yes” to 7 of the above questions, your relationship shows definite signs of abuse.
  • If you can answer “yes” to 10 or more of the above questions, you need to get out of the relationship. Your relationship is well on the way to becoming violent! You may require outside help to assist you.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP Give us a call. 519-884-6784