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You don't have to accept teenage dating abuse

Posted May 6 2009

Oakland Unity High School senior Jennifer Yanez addresses teen dating abuse. Article courtesy of the Oaktown Teen Times.

He continues to beat her, abuse her and put her down, yet she thinks that he is going to change and that he is "the one." She thinks she loves him and will do anything to please him. She believes that he loves her — he mistreats her because she's doing something wrong.

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."

Comments

1. Martin Rey Rochin Inda said at May 25, 2009 7:19 pm:

This article is pretty touching, many women justify their abuse and make themselves believe the situation they're in is due to their own fault. There are far too many abusive relationships in this world (there should not be any). I experienced this with my parents' relationship for a umber of years. As with many issues, the first step can be the recognition of the problem, bringing it out to light can have a great effect and opens up the chance to talk about how to avoid it. My thanks to the author, you've truly done your job as a journalist by putting something so relevant out there.

2. Morgaan said at June 1, 2009 8:14 pm:

I read this article about Chris Brown alleged abuse against his former girlfriend Rihanna. It’s hard to believe that thus event occurred and is very shocking to see. I am a fan of both Chris and Rihanna music and talents. In the media they seem like the perfect couple and all in love but actually they are having very serious problems in their relationship. My personal opinion is that no man, no matter how mad they are should put their hands on a female especially someone the supposedly love. I also think that Rihannna played a role leading up to him getting so mad that he started physically abusing her. There is nothing that will excuse his behavior and what he did know matter what she did. I think that no one is really listening to Chris’s side of the story because they have sympathy for her ,but also he is human and deserves to explain what made him snap. I also think people in relationships make excuses for the abuse but no one should be in a relationship like that because the behavior will continue and the end result will be death if they continue down this path. If someone loves you they should respect you and protect you from any harm that comes your way. It’s hard to accept certain things and speak about what’s going on but it’s the best thing to do so you can get help before it’s too late. So if you're in a abusive relationship get out.

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