What Do You Think?

Do you give your partner your phone passwords?

If you think you may be in an unhealthy relationship, you can call the Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 1 (866) 331-9474 or text loveis to 22522.

Here’s information about some of the types of things we address in Margaret’s Place:

Digital dating abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online.

In a healthy relationship, all communication is respectful whether in person, online or by phone. It is never ok for someone to do or say anything that makes you feel bad, lowers your self-esteem or manipulates you.

Remember:

  • Your partner should respect your relationship boundaries.
  • It is ok to turn off your phone. You have the right to be alone and spend time with friends and family without your partner getting angry.
  • You do not have to text any pictures or statements that you are uncomfortable sending, especially nude or partially nude photos, known as “sexting”.
  • You lose control of any electronic message once your partner receives it. They may forward it, so don’t send anything you fear could be seen by others.
  • If you are being bullied, remember that there are things that you can do.
  • Always talk to an adult you trust. Be sure to tell them who, when, where and what happened. You can ask a friend to come with you, if that will help.
  • Ignore the bully. Often if bullies see that they aren’t bothering you, they might stop.
  • If you are being bullied online, do not reply and save evidence.
  • Remember: You are NOT alone! There is help! Talk to a counselor.
  • If you see bullying happening around you either in school or online, there are things that you can do to speak up.
  • If it feels safe, tell the bully you don’t agree with what they are doing and ask them to stop.
  • DO NOT join in in bullying.
  • Encourage your friends to take a stand against bullying too.
  • Talk to an adult you trust. Many times people who are being bullied are scared to ask for help. It’s not “snitching”, you are helping someone.
  • Participate in making the school safer. Each of us can make a difference! You can participate in campaign activities, speak up, and lend a hand to those who need it.

In order to keep our relationships healthy, we need to pay attention to signals that tell us that we are in an unhealthy relationship. Below are some of the real life red flags to look out for when thinking about your relationship.

  • Your partner breaks or hits things to intimidate you.
  • They tell you how to dress or how much makeup to wear.
  • They threaten to hurt themselves or others if you break up with them.
  • They embarrass you in front of others and belittle your opinions.
  • They are constantly checking up on you, asking where you are and what you are doing.
  • They constantly threaten to break up with you, or constantly accuse you of planning to break up with them.
  • Your friends and family have warned you about this person or have told you that they are worried about your safety.
  • Their threats and anger are followed by vows of love and pleas for forgiveness.

Sexual abuse refers to any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do. It can also refer to behavior that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including oral sex, rape or restricting access to birth control and condoms.

Some examples of sexual assault and abuse are:

  • Unwanted kissing or touching.
  • Threatening or pressuring someone into unwanted sexual activity.
  • Rape or attempted rape.
  • Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control.
  • Sexual contact with someone who is very drunk, drugged, unconscious or otherwise unable to give a clear and informed “yes” or “no.”

Keep in Mind – Everyone has the right to decide what they do or don’t want to do sexually. Not all sexual assaults are violent “attacks.”

If you have been sexually assaulted, first get to a safe place away from the attacker. You may be scared, angry and confused, but remember the abuse was in no way your fault. You have options. See links below for resources and supports.

Watching a friend go through an abusive relationship can be very scary and you may feel like you’re not sure how to help them. The decision to leave can only be made by the person experiencing the abuse, but there are a lot of things you can do to help your friend stay safe.

  •           Listen to them without judging.
  •           Remember that it might take time for them to leave their partner.
  •           Remind them that it is not their fault.
  •           Help them to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship.
  •           Encourage them to develop a safety plan.
  •           Connect them to resources in their school and community.

Everyone deserves a relationship that is healthy, safe and supportive. If you are in a relationship that is hurting you, it is important for you to know that the abuse is not your fault. It is also important for you to start thinking of ways to keep yourself safe from the abuse, whether you decide to end the relationship or not. While you can’t control your partner’s abusive behavior, you can take action to keep yourself as safe as possible.

A safety plan is a practical guide that helps lower your risk of being hurt by your abuser. It includes information specific to you and your life that will help keep you safe. A good safety plan helps you think through lifestyle changes that will help keep you as safe as possible at school, at home and other places that you go on a daily basis.

Sometimes we hear students’ concerns about their parents fighting and it getting really bad. You are not alone! Lots of kids are nervous and don’t know what to do in this situation. Here are some things you can do:

Know that it’s never your fault. Your parents are responsible for taking care of you, not the other way around.

Do not get in the middle of a fight. Children and especially teenagers are often injured while trying to protect a parent who is being abused. This won’t help anyone. Instead, get away from the fighting and go to a trusted neighbor’s or family member’s to stay safe and ask for help.

Call a Domestic Violence hotline. 1-800-799-7233. There are many hotlines you can call and talk to professionals who can give you helpful advice and keep it private.

Get help dealing with your emotions. Violence in the home always has a negative emotional effect on kids. Find someone you can trust to talk to about what’s going on at home – Think about a person in your family, at school, church, or in your after school program that you might be able to talk to. Sometimes asking for help from a safe adult and learning about healthy ways to deal with your feelings can make all the difference.