February is the season of showing your love to your significant other. Everyone deserves to be in a healthy, loving relationship. Unfortunately, one in every three young people will be in an abusive and unhealthy relationship sometime in their lives. While we are showing our love to those we care about this month, let’s not forget that February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Sometimes, it is not easy to be able to tell the difference between healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships. Look for these common warning signs of dating abuse if you or someone you know might be in an unhealthy relationship:
- Checking cell phones, emails, or social media without permission
- Constant belittling or expressing put-downs
- Explosive temper
- Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex
- Encouraging isolation from family and friends
The Child Abuse Prevention Center provides programs such as Teen Voices Teen Choices serving high school students in order to empower decisions on healthy dating. The Well Program is another program through the Prevention Center, which provides educational and skills building presentations, including topics such as growth and development, bullying, anger and stress management, healthy communications and healthy relationships to support emotional and social well-being.
Teens who have been abused often hesitate to seek help because they do not want to expose themselves or are unaware of how to. If you think you or a friend are experiencing or perpetrating abusive behaviors, contact the 24/7 Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 for resources and advice. If your friend is in an abusive relationship, Start the Conversation, Be Supportive, and Keep Your Communication Door Open.