Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why is it so hard to leave a violent relationship?

If you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, it may be very hard to leave.
Some of the reasons are:

Love: You may sincerely love your dating partner even if you may hate some of his behaviors.  The relationship isn’t bad all the time. 

Promises: Your partner may sugarcoat their words and promise the abuse won't happen again.

Confusion: You may be confusing genuine love and controlling love, especially if you've grown up in an abusive and unsupportive family.

Denial: You may be thinking, "It could be worse." Trying to downplay abuse is a common reaction, but it still doesn't make the abuse right.  You may even compare it to a past abusive relationship, “this isn’t as bad as when I was dating….”

Guilt: You may feel like the abuse is your fault, given that your dating partner is likely to blame you for it.  You may feel like you should have or could have done something differently. 

Fear: You may be afraid of what would happen if you told the truth. Or maybe you fear being alone and would rather be in this relationship than in none at all.

Belief you can change your partner: You may cling to the hope that you can change your partner if you try hard enough or put enough time and devotion into it.

Low self-esteem: If you've been abused emotionally or verbally, you may feel like you're not loveable or worthy at all. Even if you're unhappy in the relationship, you may stay because you think you'll never find someone better who would love someone like you.

False hopes: You may think the violence will eventually stop. But, abuse is a pattern of behavior that's been established for a long time. It won't just stop on its own, even if your partner makes promises. 

Peer pressure: The pressure to have a boyfriend or girlfriend can be extreme. You may be afraid of what your friends might think if you were single.

Do you use any of these reasons to stay in an abusive relationship? It's up to you to decide whether it's worth it to stay and whether your dating partner is sincerely committed to changing. But if you're positive that he or she can't change, leaving the relationship is the best choice to make before you get hurt even more.

"Why It is So Hard to Leave." Choose Respect. Apr2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services. 07Mar 2008 <>.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Warning signs of an abusive person
These are some examples you may be experiencing, some things may not be listed, if you are unsure if you are seeing warning signs please talk to an advocate.

Ø  Does your partner call you names and/or put you down in front of others?

Ø  Have you ever had to make up excuses to explain injuries to other people? 

Ø  Does your partner act extremely jealous-even for no reason?
§  Does your partner ever use jealousy to excuse behavior?
Ø  Have you ever been worried about upsetting your partner or making him or her angry?

Ø  Do you ever have to apologize for your partner’s behavior?

Ø  Have you ever had to cancel your plans at the last minute because of your partner?

Ø  Does your partner check up on you when you aren’t together?
§  Calling or texting you a lot, bothering your friends?

Ø  Have you given up things that used to be important to you because of your partner?
§  Activities, spending time with your friends, etc?

Ø  Does your partner break or hit things when he or she is upset? 

Ø  Have you significantly changed anything about yourself since being with your partner?
§  Have things like your appearance (weight, hair, clothes) or grades changed? 

American Bar Association, "Warning Signs & Prevention Recommendations." National Teen Dating VIolence Prevention Initiative (2006) 8-9. 07Mar2008 <>.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Are you being abused?

Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behavior.  This behavior can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal or psychological or can be done in any combination.  

Verbal/Emotional/Psychological Abuse: Anything your abuser says or does to you that causes you to be afraid, lowers your self esteem, or is done to manipulate or control your feelings or behavior.

l  Name-calling and put-downs                   l  Making you feel responsible
l  Yelling and screaming                          for the violence
l  Purposely embarrasses you            l  Threatens to commit          
      in private or in front of others                  suicide or hurt themselves
l  Cheats on you                               l  Keeping you from seeing or    
l  Stalking-tracks all your time                         talking with friends/family       
l  Threatening to hurt you or           l  Spreads rumors about you 
      your friends and family                l  Telling you what to do
l  Makes all the decisions                l  Ignoring your feelings
l  Driving recklessly                           l  Accuses you of cheating
l  Breaks promises they made           l  Manipulates you with lies
l  Criticizes your beliefs or values    l  Breaks your stuff

Physical Abuse: Any type of unwanted physical contact with you by your abuser.

l  Scratching       l  Throwing Objects      l  Pushing
l  Punching                   l  Pulling Hair                l  Slapping
l  Biting               l  Choking/Strangling    l  Shoving
l  Kicking             l  Using a weapon                   l  Restraining
l  Grabbing          l  Abandons you in a dangerous place

Sexual Abuse: This may mean forced, unwanted contact or being afraid to say no or unable to say no. 

l  Rape                                              l  Unwanted rough or violent         
l  Unwanted kissing or touching                     sexual activity
l  Forcing you to go further              l  Not letting you use birth
     then you want (even if you                control or protection 
     have had sex before)                          against STIs
l  Accusing you of sexual                 l  Calls you sexual names
     activity with others                      l  Makes comments about
l  Insists you dress in a more                  your body
     sexual way than you want to        l  Insists you dress in a less                                                                             sexual way than you want to
Break the Cycle. 07MAR2008. Break the Cycle. 12 Mar 2008 <>.
Adapted from: Getting Free: A Handbook for Women in Abusive Relationships             

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Internet Safety

What can you do to stay safe online?  Some of these tips may sound basic but they may be the most important:

ü  Don’t do or say anything online you wouldn’t in person. 

ü  Post only things you are okay with people seeing or knowing.

ü  Remember it isn’t just about you.  When you post information or pictures with friends or family members remember, you are also putting them at risk.

ü  Use the privacy options to keep your page as private as possible. 

ü  If you are in an abusive relationship or are leaving one it is best to avoid using technology to have contact with your abusive partner as they may use it against you later. 

ü  Don’t respond to harassing, abusive or inappropriate comments. It may put you in further danger or get you in trouble.

ü  Save or keep a record of all of the communications between you and the person who is abusive.  You may need this paperwork in the future.  Keep it in a safe place. 

ü  Avoid giving out your passwords to anyone (except a parent or guardian).  Choose passwords that aren’t easy to guess and change them often. 

ü  Unfortunately if the abuse doesn’t stop, you may be forced to change your usernames and email addresses. 

ü  You can also report harassing or inappropriate behavior to the site administrators. 

ü  Remember-TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!  If you feel like something isn’t right or feel threatened, tell someone who can help. 

"Safe Online Relationships." The Safe Space. Break the Cycle. 26 Feb 2008 <http: //>

Friday, January 6, 2012

Teen Love Is Not Abuse: Healthy Relationships

Teen Love Is Not Abuse: Healthy Relationships: So what is a healthy relationship? The following is a list of characteristics that can be found healthy relationships Mutual Respect: T...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Healthy Relationships

So what is a healthy relationship? 

The following is a list of characteristics that can be found healthy relationships

Mutual Respect: This means each person understands the other person’s boundaries and values as they are.
Trust: Being able to give each other the benefit of the doubt. 
Honesty: Having the ability to be honest with your partner is important. 
Compromise: This means giving and taking.  Compromising means accepting and respecting the other person’s opinion. 
Individuality: This means being able to be who you are even when you are in a relationship with someone else.
Good Communication: Being able to express how you are feeling openly and honestly without fear of being hurt. 
Problem Solving: Exercising problem solving requires both people in the relationship to identify what the problems are and to be able to work together to resolve those problems. 
Fighting Fair: Even couples in healthy relationships fight.  Some of things to keep in mind when “fighting fair” are to avoid insulting one another and focus on the issue at hand.  Remember you don’t want to say something you might regret later. 
Understanding: Sometimes in order to understand what someone else is feeling you have to put yourself in their shoes.  You might change how you communicate with people.
Self-Confidence:  This can show people that you can be calm and comfortable when encouraging them to express their own opinions and not fear how you will respond.  By having self confidence you are able to exhibit good communication skills clearly. 
Being a Role Model: Show others what a healthy relationship is, your friends may then start to model after you.  One of the most important things to model is respect; you have to give it to get it! 
"What's a Healthy Relationship." Choose Respect. Apr2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services. 07Mar 2008 <>.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cell phones

Cell phones are one of the most common ways for people to communicate with; either by text messaging or calling.  They’re also a way for an abusive partner to track you.  The following are suggestions when you are not feeling safe with your cell phone. 

Ø  It is OK to turn off your phone (you should leave a number for a parent or guardian to reach you).

Ø  Don’t answer calls from “Restricted” or “Unknown Caller.”  Avoid answering calls from numbers you don’t know.  It is easy for your abusive partner to block his or her number or use someone else’s phone.  Remember, if it is important, the caller will leave a message. 

Ø  Pictures taken with a cell phone can easily be shared with others without your control or knowledge.  Remember this when your partner or someone else wants to take a picture of you. Is this a picture you don’t mind other people see? 

Ø  You don’t have to respond to any abusive, harassing or text messages that make you feel uncomfortable.   

Ø  Save the messages you get from your partner or ex either on your phone or write them down.  Log the time and what the message was and keep it in a safe place.

Ø  If the phone calls and text messages continue, you need to tell someone about what is going on.

Ø  A lot of cell phone companies have the option to block incoming calls or text messages.  Check their websites or give the company a call. 

Ø  Change your cell phone setting from “E911 Only” to “Location On.”  This can be found under phone settings in your settings and tools menu.  By changing this, cell phone companies can track your location through cell phone towers if you are missing.  You may have to change your number.  It isn’t fair that this step may be necessary, but it may ensure your safety.  Remember, if you do have to take this step, only give your new number out to people you trust. 

"Cell Phones and Abuse." The Safe Space. Break the Cycle. 26 Feb 2008