A big thanks to all our recent donors!
Did you know that dating abuse happens to millions of teens every year in the United States? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognized that it has been an epidemic for many years now. So let's get into it.
First, What Does Dating Mean?
People define dating in different ways. It can be holding hands, talking online, gaming with someone, going out on dates or hanging out with each other in person. People who date can be of any sexuality, gender or non-binary, it can be serious or casual, from any type of family, rich, poor, and so on. However you look at it, the important part is that it needs to be a choice that you make with your partner that makes you both feel respected, equal, trusted, safe and happy.
Next, What Is Dating Violence?
Dating violence can be called dating abuse, intimate partner violence, intimate relationship violence, relationship abuse and others. Here we’ll be using them interchangeably. Dating violence can be verbal, emotional, digital (online, phone), physical, sexual, financial and stalking.
What are the Types of Dating Abuse?
To learn more about the types of dating abuse, go to www.loveisrespect.org/resources/types-of-abuse.
Now that we've gone over dating, dating violence and types of dating violence, let's look at the Teen Power and Control Wheel. On the wheel are ways in which a partner can exert power and control in a relationship.
Dating abuse is an attempt by abusive partners to gain or maintain power and control, and it comes in many forms. Abuse usually isn’t isolated — it forms a pattern of behaviors that collectively make the victim question their own self-worth and become further entrenched in the abusive relationship. The wheel is a useful tool to understand the dynamics of dating abuse.
Think of the wheel as a diagram of tactics that an abusive partner uses to keep their victims in a relationship.
Image Source - Adapted from the Domestic Abuse Intervention in Duluth, Minnesota
Do you know anyone who uses these tactics to control their partner?
Where does your relationship fall on the spectrum? Where would you like it to fall?
We've seen how not to have a healthy relationship. Now let's look at what equality in a relationship looks like?
What differences do you see between the power and control wheel and the equality wheel?
You might be wondering, how do you make your relationship stronger?
One way is to set boundaries for what you want for yourself and your partner.
A healthy emotional boundary could be-
*Is my partner supportive of me and my decisions for myself, both physically and emotionally? Am I supportive of them?
*Are you both able to comfortably spend time apart from one another?
Healthy boundary for online communications could be-
*Is it okay to tag you in posts or check-in places together?
*What are the expectations for communicating through texting or social media?
A healthy physical boundary could be-
You don’t owe your partner anything, and it isn’t fair for them to claim that you don’t care about them because you’ve established or are establishing physical boundaries. Building and respecting physical boundaries depends on open, honest communication. It's okay to disagree sometimes. It is how you both agree to resolve issues that is important.
When you discuss your boundaries, try to-
*Find the right time.
*Talk face to face.
*Don’t attack each other.
*Check your body language.
*Take some time to think about what upset you and how you'd like to resolve it.
For more about setting healthy boundaries and the source for the above info go to https://www.loveisrespect.org/resources/physical-boundaries.
Let's talk a bit more about physical boundaries when it comes to sexual activity.
Obtaining/giving consent is an ongoing process of discussing boundaries and what you’re comfortable with. This video may help you understand consent and what your own boundaries are.
But is consent always that simple?
We say that "no means no" but it can be more complex.
When you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. And it should happen every time for every type of activity. Consenting to one activity, one time, does not mean someone gives consent for other activities or for the same activity on other occasions. For example, agreeing to kiss someone doesn’t give that person permission to remove your clothes.
Having sex with someone in the past doesn’t give that person permission to have sex with you again in the future. It’s important to discuss boundaries and expectations with your partner prior to engaging in any sexual behavior. You can change your mind at any time.
Have you heard about 'enthusiastic consent?'
Enthusiastic consent means looking for the presence of a “yes” rather than the absence of a “no.” Enthusiastic consent can be expressed with words or through positive body language like smiling, maintaining eye contact, and nodding. These cues alone do not necessarily represent consent, but they are additional details that may reflect consent. It is necessary, however, to still seek verbal confirmation. The important part of consent is checking in with your partner regularly to make sure that they are still on the same page. For example, asking 'is this okay" is a good way to check in. Stating that you can stop and any time, asking if it is still okay and getting a 'yes' from your partner.
To learn more and to see where this section came from go to www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
The next section will look at digital abuse.
A lot of our lives are lived online and our phones, so it is important to talk about digital abuse. Digital dating abuse is the use of technologies like texting and social media to bully, harass, stalk, or intimidate a partner. This behavior is often a form of verbal or emotional abuse, conducted online.
Here are some healthy boundaries for your digital communications-
Thank you for choosing Jennifer's Hope to learn about teen dating violence. We have gathered our info from amazing organizations that we admire. There is so much more to learn so we encourage you to continue your research on www.loveisrespect.org and www.thatsnotcool.acom. You can find ways to become an ally, create a safety plan, learn more about healthy relationships and chat or text to an advocate to get help.
Click on our 'Resources' button to find more resources.
Click on the image below to be taken to the Love Is Respect website.
You can quickly leave this website at any time by clicking the “ESCAPE" button on the top right or bottom center on the center at the bottom.
Be sure to remember to clear your browser history if you feel you are being monitored by an abusive partner and be sure that you delete this page if the 'ESCAPE' button take you to a new tab.