At the start of a relationship it goes something like this:

"Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,
Sugar is sweet and so are YOU!"

In 1 out of 3 teen relationships, the words change to this:

"Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,
Do as I say, or I will hurt you!"

February is the month of LOVE! We tend to focus on Valentine’s Day! The flowers, the teddy bears, the jewelry. It is difficult to walk past a store without noticing the big red hearts and balloons. However, ironically enough, February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

SOME STATISTICS AND FACTS!

– Nearly 1.5 million high school students in the US experience physical abuse from a dating partner in one single year.

– One in three adolescents in the US is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

– One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a dating partner.

– One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.

– Approximately 70% of college students say they have been sexually coerced.

Instead of focusing on the gifts around Valentine’s Day, it is time to focus on the nature of the relationship. Is it a healthy one or a destructive one?

Though 1 in 3 teens experience some form of dating abuse, two-thirds never tell anyone. Often teens do not know how to talk about it. OR, they simply do not recognize the signs! It is time to start the conversation with our teens on fostering healthy relationships and to recognize abuse.

Most of us have an understanding of what a healthy and unhealthy relationship is. Our youth do too, to some extent, but may not see the changes in their partner’s behavior because they are blinded by love. A partner who is constantly texting, inquiring of your whereabouts 24/7 and isolating you from family and friends may be interpreted as complete and utter love and adoration. It may not be recognized for what it really is! That is controlling behavior, which can lead to an unhealthy and abusive relationship.

Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that usually occurs over a course of time. The abuse can be emotional, verbal and physical. Every relationship is different. Relationships start out healthy and noticing when it begins to transition to an unhealthy relationship can prevent our youth from becoming victims of violence. Let’s remember the two things that unhealthy and abusive relationships have in common – power and control!

Though there are many warning signs to look out for, like constantly wanting to know your whereabouts, or isolating you from family and friends, here are some of the most common signs of dating abuse:

– Extreme jealousy or insecurity.
– Possessiveness.
– Telling someone what to do.
– Constant belittling or put-downs.
– Explosive temper.
– Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way.
– Pressuring someone to have sex

IT IS TIME TO START THE CONVERSATION!

Young people will keep parts of their relationship private from adults and that is perfectly normal. It is common for both our youth, and adults, to romanticize dating relationships, but being realistic is very important and can prevent them becoming a victim of abuse.

Our teens must be informed that a healthy relationship has open and honest communication, in which partners share control over decisions. Partners should:
– Respect each other’s individuality
– Respect each other’s boundaries
– Have equal say in the relationship
– Feel safe in being open and honest
– Be able to share feelings and voice opinions without negative consequences.

All relationships have their ups and downs. We all know that. Even when they do not work out and the flame starts to die, it is important to inform our youth that it is understandable to get upset and be irritated with our partner. However, it is NEVER acceptable to be abusive, whether emotionally, verbally or physically!

"The Roses are still Red, the Violets are still Blue,
Though we are no longer in love, I still RESPECT You!"

POWERHOUSE recommends you visit Itstimetotalkday.org’s website and download the conversation guide on how to start the conversation with your Teen on healthy relationships.

http://www.itstimetotalkday.org/sites/default/files/How-To-Start-A-Conversation-Guide.pdf

POWERHOUSE also highly recommends your Teen Girl becomes Powerhouse Strong through its Personal Safety & Empowerment Program.

POWERHOUSE is the LEADER in Emotional Self-Defense.

The Powerhouse mission is to EDUCATE and EMPOWER ALL girls and women to live Safe, Healthy and Active Lives. In order to do this our Program includes the very important component of Emotional Self-Defense. We teach skills in Prediction, Recognition of danger signs, Observation and understanding and being in tune with your Intuition.

Take the first step towards your personal safety TODAY by contacting us and becoming POWERHOUSE STRONG!

PowerhouseStrong@gmail.com
http://powerhouseselfdefense.com