SUPPORT WITHIN REACH: Tips for identifying if you are in an unhealthy relationship
Getting educated and gaining the ability to recognize the types of dating violence are very important to achieve the healthy relationships we all deserve.
February is the month known for Valentine’s Day, but it is also known for the month that brings awareness to teen dating violence.
In the world of dating, it seems like relationships can come with some unhealthy conditions or situations that our young people are not prepared to deal with. It is important that people of all ages know what makes a healthy relationship and the factors that make it an unhealthy relationship.
Young people today learn from their peers or the relationships they witness. It is important that adults, as well as young individuals, know their self-worth and what it takes to have a healthy relationship. Standing up for what you want and setting boundaries is key when navigating the dating process.
Recent statistics show that over 71% of women and over 55% of men first experience intimate partner violence (sexual or physical violence/ or stalking) before the age of 25. One in four women first experience intimate-partner violence prior to the age of 18.
What you need to know:
A healthy relationship requires building blocks of open communication, safety, trust and respect. Teaching our children and young adults about building healthy relationships should start early.
Educating them on the dynamics of healthy relationships is important. Learning the concepts of healthy relationships and the meaning of consent will provide the foundation to build a relationship that will not add to the rising statistics which are so alarming.
Children, teenagers, young adults and parents should all be educated and aware of their self-worth. They should not be afraid to stand up for what they want and what they deserve. Being aware of the concepts that allow dating violence, and standing up against them, is important.
Are you or someone you know a victim of dating violence? Here are some of the signs:
- Does your partner frighten you or intimidate you?
- Does your partner get jealous when you have contact with others?
- Does your partner put you down or degrade you, then tell you he loves you?
- Has your partner ever hit, kicked, shoved or thrown things at you?
- Are you afraid to break up with your partner because you are in fear for your safety?
There are five types of dating violence that we all need to be aware of:
- Physical violence — using force to kick, slap, bite, or maneuver someone they are in a relationship with.
- Sexual violence — using coercion to gain sexual behaviors or acts without consent.
- Emotional abuse — undermining an individual to think they have little or no self-worth and damaging self-esteem by severe criticism.
- Economic abuse — taking away financial stability so that you rely on them for anything you want or need. They have control over your money, transportation, schooling, employment and the people you associate with.
- Psychological abuse — causing fear that they will harm you, your children, your pets or threaten to hurt themselves. This could also include the destruction of property or items of sentimental value.
Getting educated and gaining the ability to recognize the types of dating violence are very important to achieve the healthy relationships we all deserve. It will also give you the knowledge to support friends or family members that are in abusive relationships.
If you know of anyone that is a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence or dating violence, these are a few ways that you can help support them in their time of need:
- Acknowledge that you are aware of their situation and you are there for them.
- Be supportive and available if they need help or just need someone to listen.
- Do not be afraid to show and voice your concern, letting someone know you care is priceless.
- Do not be judgmental, respect their decisions and offer advice when they ask, but also remember that the ultimate choice is theirs to make.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, advocates are here and ready to help you. Reach out to Support Within Reach at our 24/7 crisis hotlines: (800) 708-2727 in Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard and Cass, or (866) 747-5008 in Itasca and Aitkin Counties.
For more information about Support Within Reach, visit supportwithinreach.org.
Angie Ness-Byer is a Hubbard County sexual violence services coordinator at Support Within Reach.