You don't have to accept teenage dating abuse
Posted May 6 2009
Does this situation sound familiar? Situations like these appear too often in teenage relationships, not to mention the charges pending against rapper Chris Brown for beating his longtime girlfriend and Grammy-winning singer, Rihanna.
For many students, the headlines are raising the question: How do people get into abusive situations and what can they do to escape?
Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t as easy as just saying goodbye. Two Unity students agreed to talk about their difficult decisions to leave abusive boyfriends, but asked that they not be identified over concern for their personal safety.
"He would threaten me that if I left him, he was going to kill himself," said one student, a junior. "I wouldn’t leave him, but I heard that he was just taking me as a joke. I would cry at night, because I would feel stuck not knowing what to do."
Another complication comes when victims overlook their own pain in order to give someone a second chance.
"Random people (would) call me out of the blue, saying that my boyfriend was cheating on me," said another student, a sophomore. "I would believe them, but then my boyfriend made me change my mind. I did want to leave him, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know what I would do without him,."
Relationships like these are often unhealthy and may be dysfunctional. How can you prevent yourself from joining Rihanna and Chris in the headlines?
According to the article "Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships," available at http://www.advocatesforyouth.org, you may be in an unhealthy relationship if:
Your partner pressures you to change and you’re • afraid to disagree with him/her;
One of you controls everything without allowing • another point of view; or one of you feels unheard or unable to communicate with each other;
You or your partner lie to each other and make excuses about it;
- You have no personal space; your partner is always checking up on you.
Your partner won’t let you go out with your friends, • or have friends.
Often, students in these situations feel trapped and don’t know what to do, but there are ways out.
First, contact a trusted friend or family member; tell them what’s going on and that you need their help. Don’t try to solve the problems by yourself because you will end up in the same situation. Surround yourself with positive people who truly have your best interest at heart.
Second, say goodbye to your abuser. Avoid him or her, and get rid of everything that reminds you of them. It will be hard, but you are worth it. If this person still keeps looking for you, contact the police.
Third, get professional counseling. Free hotlines and Web sites can give you some research and perspective on your situation. Advocates for Youth offers a checklist that will help you figure out what kind of relationship you’re in.
And finally, remember that you’re not alone and that others like you have taken the steps towards a happier and healthier life.
For the Unity junior, the turning point was evidence that her abusive boyfriend was cheating on her. "I saw a picture on MySpace," she said. "He was freak dancing with another girl. I called him that night and told him it was over."
The Unity sophomore had a similar experience.
"I was texting with my boyfriend and he sends me the wrong text saying, ‘I’m outside your house, babe.’ When I asked him who was that to, he didn’t text back. Then I knew he was cheating on me and as much as it hurt, I left him," the sophomore said. "Life went on. And I’m happy without him."