Respect. Equality. Acceptance. Safe. Trust. Love is defined in many ways by different people. Teens have used these words to define what love means to them. Unfortunately, not all teens are able to experience these definitions of love. 1 in 3 teens has been or will be in an abusive relationship. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, so let’s look at what love is not.
Love is Not… checking your phone or computer without your permission.
Love is Not…constantly putting you down.
Love is Not…extreme jealously or insecurity.
Love is Not…an explosive temper.
Love is Not…isolating you from family and friends.
Love is Not…making false accusations.
Love is Not…forcing you to do something you don’t want to.
Love is Not…physically hurting you in anyway.
Love is Not…possessiveness.
Love is Not…telling you what to do.
Dating violence is a pattern of behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. In most abusive relationships, the violence escalates over time and becomes more dangerous. Dating violence can include physical abuse, verbal or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and digital abuse.
Physical abuse is any use of physical force with the intent to cause injury or fear, including hitting, shoving, pulling hair, strangling, kicking, and using a weapon.
Verbal or emotional abuse is the use of words or actions with the intent to control you, including threats, insults, humiliation, constant monitoring, intimidation, stalking, and isolation.
Sexual abuse impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which the sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion, and denying access to birth control.
Financial abuse is using money or how you spend money to control you, including interfering with your ability to work or keep a job, giving you an allowance, and telling you what you can and cannot buy.
Digital abuse uses social technologies to intimidate, harass, and threaten you, including demanding passwords, checking computer or phone without your permission, and cyberbullying.
Throughout the month of February, Riverview Center will be presenting educational programs to Carroll County middle and high schools to educate students on the issues of teen dating violence. Riverview Center is also encouraging everyone to wear orange on February 11 to raise awareness of the issue of teen dating violence. This February, let’s start talking about teen dating violence. We all deserve safe and healthy relationships. Love has many definitions, but abuse shouldn’t be one of them!
Lorie Bumphrey is the Violence Prevention Educator at Riverview Center.
For more information, visit www.loveisrespect.org, www.teendvmonth.org, www.riverviewcenter.org or call Riverview Center at 815-244-1320.