Dating violence is a pressing and serious issue that not enough young adults and teenagers are talking about — but they should be. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, hence it feels important to discuss the common and tragic occurrences young people today experience in romantic relationships.
Relationship abuse looks different in every situation. It is very complex and terrifying, and it is happening far too frequently in the lives of young adults, yet there is little awareness to bring about its demise. According to a study from the National Institute of Justice, 56 percent of young adults reaching the end of adulthood reported perpetrating or being the victim of some form of relationship abuse. Shockingly, one in five of those reported individuals felt sexual pressure from a romantic partner.
I think part of the problem with recognizing and handling abuse is that it is often portrayed as violent and physical, which is not always the case. Domestic abuse can be emotional, physical or sexual. You should never feel pressured or forced you to have sex. You should never be made to do sexual things you don’t want to do or that make you feel uncomfortable or disrespected. And you should never be physically hurt in any way by a romantic partner.
Physical harm is not the only sign of abuse, and the absence of it does not mean a relationship is not abusive. For example, it is important to recognize whether or not your partner demands to look at your phone or social media accounts, logs into your social media accounts without permission, puts you down, insult you or calls you names. Other warning signs of relationship abuse include getting jealous or insecure;, making you change your behavior to make your partner feel better; trying to make you “confess” to doing things that you haven’t done or make false accusations about your behavior; having outbursts or a “bad temper” that causes you to fear for your safety and demanding that you cease communication with certain friends, classmates and others.
The long term effects of abusive relationships can be detrimental to an individual’s mental, physical and emotional health. Depression, anxiety, PTSD and other trauma disorders are common in individuals who have experienced abuse, and these disorders remain prevalent in the future and could potentially affect future, healthy relationships.
If you or someone you know is experiencing dating violence, there are resources available. It is important to know that you are not unlovable because someone made you feel that way.
Please share or visit https://www.thehotline.org for more information or to speak with someone regarding abuse.