What Does Teen Dating Violence Look Like?
Fact: One in three high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship (U.S. Department of Justice, 2003). Teen dating violence and sexual assault is estimated to occur between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth at about the same rate as in straight teen relationships (NCAVP, 2001; Dahir, 1999). Between Friends’ Teen Talk offers information on teen dating violence and Chicago-based services for young adults.
So how do you know if it’s abuse? The Northwest Network’s Relationship Skills Class suggests a few questions to ask yourself to help identify abuse:
- - Do you withhold information from your partner about your social interactions for fear of what she may do or say?
- - Do you have the feeling that it is somehow “bad” if you want to be emotionally intimate with someone other than your partner?
- - Does this relationship prevent you from feeling that you are part of a community or from maintaining a support system?
- - When you are around your partner and other friends or family, are you nervous about what he might say or do to embarrass or humiliate you?
- - Does your partner seem to “take over” your friendships?
- - Do you ever find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior when you are out in public?
- - Do you feel like you are isolated from your friends and family or like you have to stop spending time with your acquaintances and can be involved only with your partner’s circle of friends?
- - When you catch your partner in lies and then question her, does she make you feel like you’ve done something wrong or make you question your own sense of reality?
- - Do you have feelings of being controlled, isolated, intimidated, or exhausted? Do you experience shame or guilt in your relationship with your partner?
If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact the Between Friends 24-hour Crisis Line at 800-603-HELP(4357) from anywhere in Illinois or The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for free and confidential support.
Source: The NW Network Relationship Skills Class Curriculum, adapted from the article “Lesbian Violence, Lesbian Victims: How to identify battering in relationships,” by Lee Evans and Shelly Banister, in Lesbian Ethics, vol. 4(1).