Adolescent & Young Adult Resources
What is dating violence?
Dating violence is a pattern of controlling behavior over a partner by using physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and tech/cyber abuse. Some examples of these controlling behaviors include:
- Your partner is always checking up on you, calling or texting you, and demanding to know where you have been and with whom you have been. Your partner also closely monitors your social media and attempts to limit your contact with certain people.
- You seem to worry about upsetting your partner or making him/her angry. This can result in giving up things that are important to you, such as spending time with friends or other activities, and you are becoming more isolated.
- Your partner may threaten to hurt him/herself if you ever leave the relationship. Your partner says things such as: “I’m nothing without you” or “You are my whole world”.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is violence within the home that typically involves violent or controlling behavior between partners or spouses. Teens can be impacted by this and you may feel that it is your fault, you may have difficulty concentrating in school, and feel isolated by not wanting to have friends over to your house.
Click HERE for some quizzes to test your relationship and knowledge of healthy relationships and dating violence!
If you notice that you may have unhealthy or abusive tendencies: Can I Stop Being Abusive?
Examples of a healthy dating relationship:
- Respectful communication
- Accountability and responsibility
- Feelings of safety and comfort
Examples of an unhealthy relationship:
If you are noticing a pattern of control in your relationship, it may be a warning sign of teen dating abuse.
- Monitoring through social media
- Limiting your contact with friends/activities
- Put downs and name calling
What is sexual violence?
Teen sexual violence can occur as part of a dating relationship. It also can occur with a friend, classmate, family member or a stranger.
Sexual violence includes any type of sexual conduct or sexual contact that is not consensual and is forced, or when the victim could not give consent. Sexual violence occurs when a perpetrator exerts power and control over the teen, it is not due to a teen’s sexual orientation or appearance. Many people think that sexual violence is just rape, however, sexual violence also includes:
- Taking advantage of you or their relationship with you
- Threatening or forcing someone to have sex
- Having sex with someone who is unable to give or deny consent if they are mentally incapable, drugged, or severely intoxicated with alcohol (e.g., passed out or in a black out)
The experience of sexual abuse is an extremely personal matter. You may be feeling loneliness, shame, guilt, confusion, fear, depression. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!
Consider your safety!
If you have experienced any form of violence, you might…
- Think it’s your fault
- Feel angry, sad, lonely, depressed, or confused
- Feel helpless to stop the abuse
- Feel threatened or humiliated
- Feel anxious
- Not know what might happen next
- Feel like you can’t talk to family and friends
- Be afraid of getting hurt more seriously
- Not want to get anyone in trouble
Being a victim of violence is not your fault. Nothing you say, wear, or do gives anyone the right to hurt you.
Dating, Domestic and Sexual Violence Services:
If you or someone you know has witnessed abuse in the family or has been a victim of abuse, you may feel like you can’t talk about it to anyone. At times, teens may feel confused, scared, depressed, lonely, or angry. SAFE in Hunterdon has counselors that you can talk to about this. SAFE in Hunterdon is a not-for-profit organization that provides almost all services free of charge. One-on-one counseling is provided for teens of all sexual orientations and genders. Support services are for teens who have experienced sexual assault, dating violence, human trafficking/sex trafficking, domestic violence and/or sexual harassment. Services are also provided to significant others of teens such as parents, friends, family members, etc.
Resources for friends, family, and victims of violence:
Care – Show you care by letting them know you are there for them
Address – Address the situation that concerned you
Resources – Connect them with resources that can help them deal with their situation
Empathy – Show them empathy by letting the victim know it is not their fault and they don’t deserve to be treated this way; no one has a right to hurt them.
Carter, Wm. Lee, Ed.D., It Happened to Me, A Teen’s Guide to Overcoming Sexual Abuse , Ca., New Harbinger Publications, 2002.
Levy, Barrie. In Love and In Danger: A Teen’s Guide for Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships, Seattle: Seal Press, 1998.
Matsakis, Aphrodite, PhD., The Rape Recovery Handbook, Ca., New Harbinger Publications, 2003.