Domestic Violence is a pattern of physical and psychological abuse, emotional and mental abuse threats, intimidation, isolation used by one person to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Domestic Violence can happen to anyone, it doesn’t matter the race, age, sexual orientation, or gender. It happens to married people, people who are dating or living together.
Child abuse, or child maltreatment, is an act by a parent or caretaker that results in or allows the child to be subjected to death, physical injury, sexual assault, or emotional harm. Emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse are all different forms of child abuse. For more information visit Joyful Heart Foundation.
Sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including:
- Inappropriate touching
- Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
- Sexual intercourse that you say no to
- Attempted rape
- Child molestation
Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations: in the home by someone you know, on a date, or by a stranger in an isolated place. For additional information please visit womenshealth.gov.
Teen dating violence often is hidden because teenagers typically:
- are inexperienced with dating relationships.
- are pressured by peers to act violently.
- want independence from parents.
- have “romantic” views of love.
Teen dating violence is influenced by how teenagers look at themselves and others.
Young men may believe:
- they have the right to “control” their female partners in any way necessary.
- “masculinity” is physical aggressiveness
- they “possess” their partner.
- they should demand intimacy.
- they may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive toward their girlfriends.
Young women may believe:
- they are responsible for solving problems in their relationships
- their boyfriend’s jealousy, possessiveness and even physical abuse, is “romantic.”
- abuse is “normal” because their friends are also being abused.
- there is no one to ask for help.
Teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with respect.
To learn more about teen dating violence and signs of teen dating violence, visit ACADV.