crime victims rights, domestic violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Non-Profit Agency, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Emotional Abuse: Bruises on the Heart & Mind

What is normal when you are dating?

Wanting to have sex with your dating partner? Yup.

Texting each other throughout the day? Totally.

Hanging out? Sure.

But at what point do these behaviors cross the line to become abusive?

Being pressured into having sex with your partner when you aren’t ready to take that step? Emotional abuse.

Constantly having to text your partner to “check in” or getting punished for not answering a text quickly enough? Emotional abuse.

Being forced to spend all your time with your partner, at the expense of your relationships with friends and family or activities you enjoy? Emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse is abuse.

It doesn’t leave outward scars, but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause serious damage to a survivor’s mental and emotional well-being. Often, it is one of the key warning signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Emotional abuse can take on many forms, including jealousy or possessiveness, isolation from friends and family, stalking, threats of suicide or harm to someone you care about, name calling and put-downs, and digital abuse. What’s worse, is that when emotional abuses happen, they can take a toll on a survivor’s self esteem, mental health, and physical health. When an abuser keeps telling their partner that they are “ugly”, “worthless”, “dumb”, “untrustworthy”, and “crazy”, the partner may start to believe the abuser, making it that much harder to end the relationship. Because it comes in so many forms, it can be easy to miss, or dismiss as normal. But emotional abuse is not normal.

Emotional abuse is abuse.

Let’s run through some scenarios of emotional abuse in dating relationships.

Dave and Jessica have been dating for a while. More and more, Dave is pressuring Jessicadownload (1) into having sex with him and sending him nudes. Jessica doesn’t feel ready to have sex, but she does send Dave some pictures of herself in her underwear. Dave keeps saying, “If you love me, you will have sex with me.” Jessica decides she isn’t comfortable with the pressure Dave is putting her under and tries to break up with him. Dave threatens to kill himself if Jessica breaks up with him. Jessica apologizes and says she won’t break up with him. Eventually Dave breaks up with Jessica because she won’t have sex with him. After they break up, Dave posts the pictures Jessica sent him online, calling Jessica a slut and whore.

What types of emotional abuse happened in Dave and Jessica’s relationship? Dave was pressuring Jessica into doing something she wasn’t comfortable with and then tried to manipulate her into doing it to “prove” she loved him. When Jessica tried to end the relationship, Dave made threats of self-harm to control Jessica into staying with him. When Dave broke up with Jessica, he posted private pictures online and called her names. Dave’s abusive behaviors included emotional manipulation, threats, verbal abuse, sexual abuse and digital abuse.

Let’s look at another scenario.

downloadCally and Luis mostly communicate via text throughout the week. Luis tutors after school to earn some extra money, so he can go spend time with Cally on the weekends. Cally told Luis she has been cheated on before, so she has a hard time trusting her boyfriends. Cally tells Luis to give Cally his social media passwords to make sure he isn’t talking to other girls, saying “It shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t have anything to hide from me.” Luis knows he isn’t cheating on Cally, so he gives her his passwords so she will trust him. One day, Luis is tutoring a girl who tags him in a picture of them together on Facebook. Luis silences his phone while he is working, so when he does go to check his phone after work, Luis finds 37 missed calls and 107 texts from Cally that she sent during the hour Luis was tutoring. Many of the texts accuse Luis of sleeping with the other girl and says Luis is an “asshole just like all of my other exes”. When Luis gets a hold of Cally, she demands that Luis not tutor the other girl anymore. Eventually Cally starts telling Luis to quit his tutoring job, because Cally can’t trust him, even though Luis has repeatedly told Cally he hasn’t cheated on her and never will.

Cally made excuses for her behavior right from the start, blaming her behavior on her past relationships. Cally insisted she be allowed access to Luis’s social media accounts to prove Luis isn’t cheating. When Luis didn’t immediately respond to Cally’s calls and texts while he was working, she blew up his phone with excessive contacts in a short period of time. Cally called Luis names, accused him of cheating on her, and demanded he stop tutoring other girls, ultimately leading to her telling him to quit his job. Cally made false accusations, displayed extreme jealousy, and was digitally, verbally, and financially abusive to Luis.

Let’s look at one more scenario.

James and Sarah started dating over summer break. When they go back to school in the fall, Sarah starts playing volleyball and isn’t seeing James as often. After school, Sarah usually spends time with her friends. When she does see James, he asks her to spend imagesmore time with him and accuses Sarah of not putting their relationship first. James tells Sarah to quit volleyball so they could be together more. James and Sarah start fighting a lot, and James always ends up yelling and calling Sarah selfish. After their fights James always says, “I hate when we fight, but you just make me so mad! That is why I yell at you.” Sarah agrees to quit volleyball, even though she really enjoys it. James starts showing up where Sarah is hanging out with her friends, even though she didn’t tell him where they would be or invite him. James also starts repeatedly calling Sarah’s house late at night and hanging up, and leaving little gifts in her car, which makes Sarah uncomfortable. Sarah breaks up with James, but he continues to show up at the places she is at and leaving little gifts in her car, even though she had asked him to stop.

James tried to insinuate that Sarah was selfish and not putting their relationship first, forcing her into quitting something she enjoys doing. James also blamed Sarah for him getting angry and yelling at her. James escalated to stalking Sarah, even after she broke up with him and told him to leave her alone. James was emotionally manipulative, put Sarah down, isolated her from activities she enjoyed, and was stalking her.

Emotional abuse is abuse.

It doesn’t leave outward scars. It makes you second guess yourself. It makes you feel bad, or that you are going crazy. Emotional abuse is controlling, without ever laying a hand on you. Emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse and sexual assault. It is important to try to set healthy boundaries early on in your relationship and recognize that you aren’t alone, even when your abuser may insist otherwise.

AVRC Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have any questions about emotional abuse, healthy boundaries and dating violence, or if you want to seek support and safety, help is only one call away.

 

415 Colorado Avenue
La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

 

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

 

crime victims rights, domestic violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Victim Service Provider, Violent Crime

Teen Dating Violence: How much do you know?

Feburary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (#TDVAM) and it is time to put your knowledge to the test! Let’s see how much you may know about healthy relationships and the facts about dating violence.
(Hint: Some of the answers can be found in AVRC’s 2018 #TDVAM Article,
 Go Orange this February!)

Multiple choice (can have more than one right answer)

1.) What percent of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide?
     a) 44%
     b) 86%
     c) 50%
     d) 38%

2.) Abusive behaviors during dating violence include:
     a) Physical and sexual violence
     b) Mental and emotional violence
     c) Isolation and jealousy
     d) Stalking

3.) Among female victims of intimate partner violence, what percent were victimized by a current or former partner per age group?
     a) 52% of those aged between 12-22
     b) 94% of those aged between 16-19
     c) 66% of those aged between 16-24
     d) 70% of those aged between 20-24

4.) Why do people stay in abusive relationships?
     a) Fear or shame
     b) Pressure (social/peer, cultural/religious)
     c) Lack of support or resources
     d) Belief that abuse is normal

5.) How many teens who have experienced dating violence disclose their abuse?
     a) 50%
     b) 89%
     c) 33%
     d) 12%

6.) At what rate do high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner:
     a) 2 million every year
     b) 1 million every 6 months
     c) 1.5 million every year
     d) 100,000 every month

7.) Long-term effects of teen dating violence can include:
     a) Eating disorders
     b) Drug and alcohol abuse
     c) Unhealthy sexual practices
     d) Risk of ongoing abuse in adult relationships

8.) Which of the following is a sign of a healthy relationship?
     a) Spending all your free time together.
     b) Maintaining interests, hobbies, and friendships outside of the relationship.
     c) Having sex every day, because it shows how much you love each other.
     d) Valuing each other’s opinions and boundaries.

True or False

1.) Over 80% of parents believe teen dating violence isn’t an issue, or admit they don’t know if it is an issue.  ___________
2.) Physical violence always leaves visible marks. ___________
3.) Dating violence is limited to in-person contacts.    ___________
4.) LGTBQIA+ teens and young adults experience dating violence less than heterosexuals. ___________
5.) People abuse their partners because of anger and substance abuse issues. ___________
6.) Your partner can’t rape you if you have had sex with them before. ___________
7.) Abuse always stops if you break up with your abuser. ___________

ANSWER KEY

Multiple choice (can have more than one right answer)

1.) What percent of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide?
     c) 50%
Half of teens who have experienced dating violence attempt suicide, as opposed to 5.4% of young men and 12.5% of young women who have not been in an abusive dating relationship.

2.) Abusive behaviors include:
     a) Physical and sexual violence
     b) Mental and emotional violence
     c) Isolation and jealousy
     d) Stalking
Abusive behaviors include all of those listed above, as well as digital abuse and financial abuse.

3.) Among female victims of intimate partner violence, what percent were victimized by a current or former partner per age group?
    b) 94% of those aged between 16-19
d) 70% of those aged between 20-24
Girls and young women between the ages of 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence.

4.) Why do people stay in abusive relationships?
     a) Fear or shame
     b) Pressure (social/peer, cultural/religious)
     c) Lack of support or resources
     d) Belief that abuse is normal
There is no one reason why someone may stay in an abusive relationship, but the above are just some of many of these reasons. Other reasons can include fear of being outed, if the abused party is LGBTQIA+ and has not come out yet. Other reasons can include distrust of authorities, such as believing that adults or law enforcement won’t listen or help if abuse is disclosed.

5.) How many teens who have experienced dating violence disclose their abuse?
     c) 33%
Only 1/3 of teens disclose abuse to their friends or family.

6.) At what rate do high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner:
     c) 1.5 million every year
Physical abuse can include pushing, shoving, hitting, and strangulation.

7.) Long-term effects of teen dating violence can include:
     a) Eating disorders
     b) Drug and alcohol abuse
c) Unhealthy sexual practices
d) Risk of ongoing abuse in adult relationship
Further risks include teen girls being sexually abused are six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a Sexual Transmitted Infection (STI).

8.) Which of the following is a sign of a healthy relationship?
     b) Maintaining interests, hobbies, and friendships outside of the relationship.
     d) Valuing each other’s opinions and boundaries.
Healthy relationships are based on respect, trust, and consent.

True or False

1.) True. 81% of parents don’t realize that teen dating violence is an issue.

2.) False. Physical violence can cause internal, unseen injury, including broken bones and internal swelling, bruising, or bleeding.

3.) False. Dating violence can also include digital violence, such as cyber-bullying.

4.) False. LGBTQIA+ teens experience dating violence at the same rates as their heterosexual peers, which is an average of 1 in 3 teens and young adults.

5.) False. While anger and substance abuse can be an escalating factor in the cycle of violence, abuse is caused by control issues in the batterer.

6.) False. Regardless of whether or not you have had sex with a partner before, consent is required every single time.

7.) False. Violence doesn’t always stop after you break up with your abuser, and may actually escalate, which is why it is so important to seek support.

So, how did you do? If you have any questions about Teen Dating Violence (#TDVAM), or if you or someone you know needs safety and support options to deal with dating violence, AVRC Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One of the best steps anyone can take is to reach out for support!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

AVRC is a non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

 

Statistics and data on dating violence provided by https://www.loveisrespect.org/.

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency

Go Orange this February!

 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) and in 2018, everyone is wearing orange! The #Orange4Love challenge, or Wear Orange Day, is on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, and is part of the TDVAM campaign to raise awareness regarding an issue that 1 in 3 teens and young adults face. But what is teen dating violence? Do you know what the warning signs of dating violence can look like?

81% of parents believe teen dating violence isn’t an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.

According to loveisrespect.org, teen dating violence occurs on a spectrum of healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships, and abusive relationships. Unhealthy relationships are characterized as being “based on attempts to control another person”, whereas abusive relationships are “based on an imbalance of power and control”. As with any abusive situation, abusive behavior is a means for the perpetrator to gain control over another person. These controlling behaviors can be emotional, mental, financial, physical, or sexual, and include other patterns such as stalking, intimidation, and isolation. Most commonly, teens who had experienced dating violence reported physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuses. Put downs, jealousy, isolation from friends and family, and pressure over having sex are all abusive behaviors commonly associated with teen dating violence.

1.5 Million high school students admit to being hit or intentionally harmed by someone they are in a romantic relationship with.

Dating violence can have a serious impact on a survivor. Young adults who have experienced dating violence are at higher risk for eating disorders, unsafe or unhealthy sexual practices, substance abuse, and ongoing abuse in their adult relationships. On top of that, half (50%) of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide, in comparison to young men (5.4%) and young women (12.5%) who have not been in an abusive dating relationship.

Education may be one of  the best tools to combat dating violence. When students, teachers, and parents are able to identify unhealthy and abusive patterns, better support can be given to those who are experiencing or have experienced dating violence. Agencies such as the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) are available for students, teachers, parents, and community members alike who may have concerns for themselves or someone they know, as well as for group education regarding these issues.

If you are interested about learning more, or are in need of support for yourself, a friend or family member due to teen dating violence, reach out, speak up, and don’t forget to wear #Orange4Love!

Support through AVRC is available 24 hours a day!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

Teen Dating Violence statistics and banner provided by loveisrespect.org.