Thank you, Rachelle Ayala for hosting me on your site today. I am honored to be here and talk about teen dating abuse.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. The statistics are alarming. 1 in 3 teens experience some form of abusive relationship. Over half of all rape victims report being raped before the age of 25. Teens are at a higher risk of intimate partner abuse than adults, yet more than 75% of all victims will not report it and more than 80% of adults do not feel like teen dating abuse is a problem. (facts from loveisrespect.org)
Violent behavior starts between the ages of 12 and 18, and violent relationships in adolescence will put victims at a higher rate of substance abuse, eating disorders, and suicide. Dating abuse is a major issue, one with major consequences.
Abuse can be in the form of emotional/verbal abuse, stalking, financial abuse, sexual abuse, digital abuse, as well as physical.
Some signs of abuse include (but are not limited to): Constantly checking in, lying, not letting you talk to others of the opposite sex even if they are just friends, partner threatening to hurt self, loss of temper quickly, embarrassing you, forcing sex, keeping you away from friends, checking messages/texts/phone/email. You should feel comfortable, happy, and safe in a relationship. Love is about friendship and respect, not abuse, fear or control.
Dating abuse knows no boundaries. It runs across all race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, nationality, geography, age and social-economic lines. No one is above it. No one is immune to it. And no one deserves to be abused.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, know that there are many ways to get help. First make sure you or your friend is safe. Don’t isolate self or allow friend to become isolated. Get in touch with a trusted organization such as loveisrespect.org, thehotline.org, datingabusestopshere.com, or clotheslineproject.org. These organizations have professionally trained staff to listen, understand, and help. Other places to get help include—religious leaders, coaches, school nurses, teachers, school counselors, doctors, or other health professionals. Find a support system. Get legal help. Rape, harassment, and assault are illegal.
It is important to stand up and speak out about dating abuse. Please join me this month and every month in raising awareness on this devastating issue of teen dating violence.
For more information please go to
loveisrespect.org, call 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 77054
Rebecca Green Gasper is the author of Break From You, a young adult contemporary novel that centers on the issue of teen dating abuse. It is a story about love and loss, heartache and romance. Synopsis—Love shouldn't hurt this much... Brooke Myers wants to believe she has it all: the perfect guy, the perfect relationship, the perfect life. She wants to believe it so much that she's willing to overlook the fear, the isolation, and the pain her boyfriend has caused her. She knows it isn't right but tells herself that love isn't always easy. However, when a fire destroys the restaurant during homecoming dinner, she forms an instant bond with the boy who saves her, one her boyfriend wouldn't like. With the pain of a concussion reminding her of how bad things can get, she is forced to re-evaluate the relationship she has with her boyfriend and face the ghosts that haunt her. Brooke once believed love was all it took...but is it enough? Is it truly love when you've lost yourself in it?
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