Love should never hurt. But sometimes it does:
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime
- 1.5 million women are sexually assaulted or otherwise physically abused by their partners each year.
- Over 800,000 males are sexually or physically abused by partners.
- Abuse can occur in any type of relationship–gay and straight, casual and long-term, young and old.
- About 10% of high school students say that have suffered violence from someone they date.
If you are – or have been – in a relationship where you were mistreated, it’s very easy to blame yourself. The problem is with the abuser, though, not you. It’s not your fault! Anyone can be abused – boys and girls, men and women, gay or straight, young and old – and anyone can become an abuser.
Break the Silence: Stop the Violence
It may shock you to know that one out of every eleven teens reports being hit or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past twelve months. But why is that, and how can we change it? In “Break The Silence: Stop the Violence,” parents talk with teens about developing healthy, respectful relationships before they start dating.
Abuse doesn’t happen because you did something wrong, or weren’t smart enough or strong enough. Give yourself a break: remember that you probably did the best you could at the time, and now you’re learning how to be safe, healthy, and happy in your relationships.
In any intimate relationship, ask yourself:
- Have they ever hit or slapped me?
- Have they ever grabbed or threatened me, or made me feel afraid?
- Do they demand to know where I go and who I see?
- Do they try to isolate from my friends and family?
- Are they extremely jealous?
- Do they talk to me in a way that isn’t nice, or that puts me down?
- Do they always have to have their own way?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be in a relationship that isn’t good for you. The good news is you can stop dating abuse.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, you didn’t do anything wrong, and you’re not the problem. Talk with someone you’re comfortable with. Call a hotline (see below). If you ever feel that you’re in immediate danger, get away and call 911.
- Get to know someone before going out. At first go to public places like a movie, restaurant, or park.
- Let someone know whom you’re with and where you’ll be going, especially with a new partner or a first date.
- Take your cell phone on a date. Have some cash in case you need to get home on your own.
- For teenagers, date someone who’s close to your own age. Dates who are older sometimes are more aggressive about sex, or more likely to be abusive and controlling.
- At any age, be careful when you meet someone online. Don’t give away personal information, such as your real name or where you live. Remember, people on the Internet sometimes are not what they say they are.
Resources for help
- National Sexual Assault Hotline
24/7 help via phone, text and online chat.
- National Sexual Assault Online Hotline
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Casa de Esperanza
Linea de crisis 24-horas/24-hour crisis line, 651.772.1611
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)
- Men Can Stop Rape
- Girl’s Health
Remember, you deserve healthy, happy relationships. Abuse of any type is never okay.