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Teens And Dating Violence - Love Shouldn't Hurt!

Love should not hurt! Whether one refers to the pain of physical abuse, or the emotional devastation that name calling and ridicule causes, our teens are in the midst of a crisis of epidemic proportions. Teens in growing numbers are relating, punching, pushing, slapping, name-calling and even rape to being loved. Whether it is your son, daughter, grandchild, friend, or you, yourself, love doesn't and shouldn't cause physical or emotional pain.

Current statistics show that one in four adolescents report some form of verbal, physical or emotional abuse, in a past or current relationship. The CDC reports that currently more than 72% of all 8th and 9th graders engage in some form of Dating. It has also been found that one in eleven high school students report being physically hurt by someone that they are or have been Dating.

Children as young as 11 are engaging in sexual activity including oral Sex and intercourse. According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center at least 80% of girls who are being abused, or have been abused in the past by their boyfriends, continue to date their abuser. Rap music, movies, and T.V. continue to glamorize physical and verbal abuse and desensitize young people to the actuality and the consequences of abuse. Nearly 24% of 14-17 year old teens, know someone who has fallen victim of some form of abuse in dating. The shocking thing about these statistics is that only 81% of all parents surveyed believe that teen Dating violence is an issue at all.

It is reported that in women between the ages of 15 and 19 murdered each year, at least 30% are killed by their husband or boyfriend. The Internet site www.theredflagcampaign.org. lists the following Teen Dating Bill of Rights.

1. I have the right to always be treated with respect. 2. I have the right to be in a healthy relationship. 3. I have the right not to be hurt physically or emotionally. 4. I have the right to refuse Sex or affection at any time. 5. I have the right to have friends or participate in activities apart from being in a relationship. 6. I have the right to end a relationship when desired.

Parents must keep communication open and stress to their teen that regardless of any circumstance violence is never to be accepted or perpetrated. In 2001 more than 97, 000 students between the ages of 18-24 were victims of alcohol related or sex related sex abuse or date rape. Some 12% of young teens report being stalked before the age of 18, claims the website www.ncvc.org . Young people can confide in a parent or trusted adult knowing that there are resources out there that will help them escape abuse. If you or someone that you know is being subjected to some form of violence in the name of love you can call the National Domestic Hot Line at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).

All 50 states in the United States have laws against dating violence. In the U.S. 35 of these states allow a minor to obtain a protective order against their perpetrator.

If you or someone you know is involved or suspects that their relationship has the potential for violence please tell someone. Some red flags to be aware of are as follows.

Dating Relationship Red Flags

1.Being in a relationship where you are called names such as fat, ugly or stupid. 2. Being asked what you were doing when you are not together or unjustly accused of doing something wrong. 3. Having to constantly defend your actions or thoughts to someone else. 4. It is not normal to have your whereabouts, your phone records or recent calls checked or your computer Internet trail followed. 5. You should be aware of red flags when you are discouraged from spending time with family or friends, or told that others are "putting thoughts or ideas into your head". 6. You should never be made to have sex against your will. 7. You should never be touched, pushed, pulled, pinched, hit or screamed at in the name of love.

Love doesn't and shouldn't hurt.

Resources for this article are as follows: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/pub-res/datingabusefactsheet.pdf , www.safeyouth.org , www.knowtheredflags.com , www.ncvc.org/.ncvc/AGA.net/components/documentsviewer

By M.S.Medina - M.S.Medina is a free lance writer who lives in Southern California. This is her favorite quote. "Speak the truth with compassion."  

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