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Help for Teens

One in three teens in the US will experience physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse by someone with whom they are in a relationship. Inform yourself about the different forms of abuse and stop dating abuse before it starts.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is when someone intentionally uses physical force to cause harm. Sometimes physical abuse may not leave a bruise or other outward sign, but it is still unhealthy and never deserved.

Examples of physical abuse include:

  • Scratching, biting, or kicking
  • Slapping, punching
  • Choking or strangling
  • Throwing things
  • Pulling your hair
  • Pushing, pulling or shoving
  • Using a weapon

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be verbal offenses, threats, bullying, humiliation, intimidation, or any non-physical abuse used to control another person.

Examples of emotional abuse include:

  • Putting you down, teasing in a way that makes you feel bad about yourself
  • Yelling and screaming
  • Belittling your ideas or needs
  • Treating you like a child, telling you how to behave and what to wear
  • Accusing you of things that aren’t true or blaming you for their problems or behavior
  • Repeatedly checking your cell phone or online communications
  • Possessiveness, jealousy
  • Stalking you
  • Threatening to harm you or people you care about
  • Manipulating you to stay in the relationship
  • Repeatedly pressuring you to have sex, making you feel guilty when you don’t consent
  • Starting rumors about you

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual activity. Abusers might use force, make threats, or take advantage of someone not able to give consent. It is important to remember that just because a person doesn’t resist an unwanted sexual advance, it doesn’t mean that they have given consent. Just because a victim didn’t say no doesn’t mean they meant yes. Sometimes, victims might even feel they are putting themselves at greater risk for further physical or sexual abuse if they resist.

Sexual assault or abuse is NEVER the victim’s fault. This is true even if the victim didn’t resist, was intoxicated, or felt intimidated or pressured in some way.

Some examples of sexual assault and abuse include:

  • Unwanted sexual touching or sexual activity
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Sexual harassment
  • Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control
  • Sexual contact with someone who is intoxicated, drugged, unconscious or unable to give a clear “yes” or “no”
  • Threatening, forcing, or pressuring someone into unwanted sexual activity
  • Using sexual insults toward someone

Rape Culture

Rape culture is a term used to describe the ways in which society blames victims of sexual assault and normalizes sexual violence. Rape culture can include things such as songs, TV shows, advertising, or jokes that make violence against women seem normal.

Examples of rape culture include blaming a victim for being raped or sexually assaulted because she was wearing “provocative” clothing or was too intoxicated. It can also be seen when people don’t believe victims when they come forward in places like college campuses or hospitals. It’s when professional athletes or celebrities accused of rape are adamantly defended and the victims’ claims are ignored because the accused are popular in the media. It can be seen in cat-calling or street harassment. If you pay attention, rape culture is pervasive and all around us. Simply put, it’s a cultural practice that excuses or tolerates these types of behaviors or sexual violence.

It is important to note that rape culture can affect all people, regardless of gender, and is a contributing factor to the prevalence of sexual violence within our communities. It can affect anybody and should be everybody’s issue.

Breaking down myths

  • Not all sexual assaults are violent attacks
  • Everyone has the right to decide what they consent to do sexually
  • Most victims of sexual assault know the assailant
  • People of all genders can be victims or perpetrators of sexual abuse
  • Sexual abuse can occur in same-gender relationships
  • Sexual abuse can occur between two people who have been intimate with each other before, including people who are married or dating

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can include the following:

  • Stealing your money
  • Withholding money from you
  • Forcing you to give your money or access to your accounts
  • Controlling what you buy or closely watching what you buy
  • Keeping you from seeing shared bank accounts
  • Forbidding you to work
  • Getting you fired by harassing you or your coworkers on the job

Digital Abuse/Cyberstalking

Digital abuse/cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other technologies such as texting and social networking to abuse, harass, or bully someone. This can include:

  • Posting messages about you to scare or bully you
  • Using texts, emails, or social media to threaten you
  • Using sites like Facebook to keep tabs on you
  • Sharing your personal information or pictures of you online
  • Sending you unwanted, explicit pictures
  • Looking through your phone, texts, or phone calls frequently

Stalking

Stalking is repeated acts that cause you to fear for your safety. This can include a person following you, watching you, or repeatedly harassing you and making you feel unsafe. Some examples include:

  • Showing up at your home, place of work, or places you hang out
  • Repeatedly making unwanted calls or contacting you by text messages, emails, and voicemails.
  • Leaving things on your doorstep
  • Constantly calling you and hanging up
  • Using technology to track you
  • Damaging your car or other property

Because no two relationships are the same, it can be difficult to tell when a relationship crosses from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. If you have experienced any of the actions listed above or are seeing red flags, please reach out to us so we can connect you to an advocate.

Remember that all forms of abuse are serious and no one ever deserves to experience any type of abuse.

Resources

If you are a victim of any type of abuse and need our services, please reach out to us at Palomar. We are here to help.

For healthy relationship quizzes and more info on dating abuse and prevention see:

loveisrespect.org
breakthecycle.org
https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teendatingviolence/fastfact.html
https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/talk-teens-teen-dating-violence/