Every February there is a national effort to raise awareness for teen dating violence. This is important because dating violence is way more common than you may think. One statistic says that 1 in 3 teens will experience some type of abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional) by someone they are dating before they reach adulthood. In addition to this alarming statistic, 43% of women in college report abusive/violent dating behaviors. This means that almost half of all women in college may experience violence within their own relationships. College is a stressful time for many students in America and adding the extra stress of being in an unhealthy relationship could lead to some major mental health challenges. Some of the consequences of being involved in an unhealthy relationship could be self-esteem issues, anxiety, panic, and/or depression. This is just a short list of the unfortunate possibilities. For this reason, it is important to dedicate February to teen dating violence awareness. If you find yourself in a questionable relationship, please do not refrain from talking to somebody. Also, if you suspect that a friend or family member is in an abusive/violent relationship, do not be afraid to reach out to them with your concerns. Are you not sure if your suspicions are accurate? Here are some possible the warning signs:
- Apologizing/making excuses for their partner’s mistakes
- Their partner calls them names or puts them down in front of other people
- Extreme jealousy from their partner if they are talking to somebody else
- Fights escalating to breaking or hitting things
- They’re constantly worried about upsetting their partner
- Their weight or appearance have drastically changed (these could be signs of depression which could be a result from abuse)
- They have unexplainable injuries or their explanations for injuries do not make sense.
No matter how scary it may feel, if you are experiencing any of these signs, then please start the conversation with somebody who feels safe. If you have any questions you can visit loveisrespect.org. This website has an abundance of information for those who just want to learn, those who may be in an unhealthy relationship, or for those who know somebody who is in an unhealthy relationship. Education is the first step in combatting dating violence so please begin to educate yourself…it may even save a life one day.
If you are in the NW Indiana and Chicago area and are wanting to talk with somebody, call us for an appointment at Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. We are located at 6819 W. 167th Street, Tinley Park, IL. We can be reached at (708) 633-8000.
Kassidy at Olive Branch