In DrBev’s World Dating violence is more than just arguing or verbal fighting. Dating violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors that one partner uses to get power over the other, including, any kind of physical violence or threat of physical violence to gain control. Emotional or mental abuse includes playing mind games, making you feel crazy, or constantly putting you down or criticizing you. Sexual abuse including making you do anything you don’t want to, refusing to have safer sex, or making you feel bad about yourself sexually.
Teens who abuse their Gurl-friends or Boi-friends do the same things that adults who abuse their partners do. Teen dating violence is just as serious as adult domestic violence. Teens are seriously at risk for dating violence. Research shows that physical or sexual abuse is a part of 1 in 3 high school relationships. In 95% of abusive relationships, men abuse women. However, young women can be violent, and young men can also be victims. Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and trans-teens are just as at risk for abuse in their relationships as anyone else.
Abusive relationships have good times and bad times. Part of what makes dating violence so confusing and painful is that there is love mixed with the abuse. This can make it hard to tell if you are really being abused. Here are some good questions to ask yourself; Does your boyfriend or girlfriend act like Dr. Jekyll and Hyde? With such sudden and extreme moods he/she seems like two different people? Does he/she make fun of you, put you down, or embarrass you in front of other people? Does he/she have a history of bad relationships or past violence?
Make an emotional note if he/she always blame their problems on other people, or blame you for “making” him/her treat you badly? Have they ever tried to get you drunk, high, or try to get you alone when you don’t want to be? Do they try to control you by being bossy; not taking your opinions seriously; making all of the decisions about who you see, what you wear, what you do…? And/or talk negatively about people in sexual ways or talk about sex like it’s a game or a contest?
Do you feel less confident about yourself when you’re with him/her? Have you been told by people you trust that they are worried about your safety? Do you feel scared or worried about doing or saying the wrong thing? Lastly, do you find yourself changing your behavior out of fear or to avoid a fight?