The first Wednesday of every month The Domestic Violence Shelter will present our “Wednesday Workshop” on Facebook. This month, in honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month we will discuss teen dating violence and qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships. If you missed the Workshop video, check it out here. If you have any questions not covered in this post, or would like to speak to a trained advocate, call our 24/7 Crisis Line at 1-800-931-SAFE (7233)

The Shelter:

The Domestic Violence Shelter was one of the first three shelters in Ohio when we opened the doors in 1979. The Shelter is more than just a safe place for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking- we are also a program. You can learn more about these programs by going to http://www.thedvshelter.com/. The Shelter offers the following programs and services:

  • 24/7 Crisis Line: 1-800-931-SAFE (7233)
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Case Management
  • Youth Advocacy
  • Peer Support Groups
  • Sexual Assault Advocacy Program
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Community Education
  • Outreach
  • Volunteer Program

Teen Dating Violence

Teen dating violence can be defined as “physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person ages 12 to 18 in the context of a past or present romantic or consensual relationship.” Just like dating violence, teen dating violence is all about power and control. The abusive partner uses abusive tactics to exert power and control over their partner.

Forms of Teen Dating Violence

Violence can take many forms. Most people associate dating violence with physical violence, but there is also emotional/psychological abuse, sexual abuse and stalking.

  • Physical abuse– physical harm such as hitting, biting, kicking, pushing, etc.
  • Emotional/Psychological abuse– name calling, bulling, belittling, blaming, shaming
  • Sexual abuse– any nonconsensual or forced sexual contact
  • Stalking– repeatedly following or harassing a partner
  • Digital– using technology to harm your partner

Signs of Unhealthy Relationships

No one wants to be in an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, abusers often appear to be charming and kind in the beginning of a relationship. They may take their time and slowly begin to exert power and control over their partner. It’s hard to identify an abuser in the start of a relationship, but there are signs that we should look for. Some signs include: pushing for quick involvement, not respecting your boundaries, isolating you from your family and friends and demanding to know where you are at all times. Reach out to a trained advocate at The Shelter if you’d like to discuss any signs you see in your relationship or to learn about more signs of an unhealthy relationship.

Signs of Healthy Relationships

Sometimes it can be tough to determine whether you have a healthy relationship with your partner. There are signs you can look for to help you examine your relationship. Some signs of healthy relationship include: honest and open communication, feeling like you are their equal, you feel safe, and you feel free to be yourself. You should be respected in your relationships.

Teen Dating Violence Safety Planning

It is important that you make a plan to keep yourself safe if you or a friend are in an abusive relationship. Safety plans are personalized plans that help keep you safe while in an abusive relationship, while planning to leave your abuser and/or after you leave the relationship. Safety plans are unique to each situation and should be revised frequently. If you’d like assistance in creating a personalized safety plan, call 1-800-931-SAFE to talk to one of The Domestic Violence Shelter’s trained advocates.

Safety plans aren’t just for the person experiencing abuse, they are also for their family and loved ones. Be sure to include your trusted family members and friends in your safety planning. Let them know what they need to do to help keep you safe.

Check out our blog post to learn more about safety planning

How To Help

If you suspect a teenager in your life is in an abusive relationship you may feel like you don’t know what to do. If you notice signs such as a change in behavior, spending all their time with their partner, not spending time with their friends, becoming more introverted, a drop in their grades, dropping out of extracurricular activities, or isolating themselves you should check in with them. You can start by just asking if they are ok. Offer your support and let them know you are there for them. If your friend discloses that they are in an abusive situation, reach out for help! Recognize the right person to talk to, whether it be your friend’s parents, a teacher, coach, guidance counselor or law enforcement. If you are concerned about your child, you can also contact The Domestic Violence Shelter to speak with an advocate about your options.

Next Wednesday Workshop

Be sure to check our Facebook on Wednesday, March 3 for our next Wednesday Workshop!

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