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Emotional dating violence

As mentioned, victims of relationship abuse and dating violence are often reluctant to talk about their experiences because they may feel powerless, ashamed, or frightened and may deny there is any cause for concern, or may become angry and upset with their parents for raising the topic.

When parents initiate a discussion with their teen about their concerns, they must communicate they understand there is nothing their son or daughter could do to prevent the abuse or assault.

Dating and relationship violence includes any type of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse that occurs between dating partners.

Over time, victims begin to adopt a self-image that is consistent with statements made by their abuser; i.e., they come to see themselves as worthless and deserving of abuse.

For instance, an abuser may demand the victim always tell them where they are, and may insist upon an immediate response to their phone calls, texts, and other communications while they are with other people.

Eventually meeting these demands becomes so unpleasant or embarrassing that the victim gradually discontinues contact with other people.

Parents should make certain their youth (both boys and girls) have a clear understanding of what behaviors are completely unacceptable in any relationship.

Furthermore, youth should be taught to have zero tolerance for any abusive, coercive, or disrespectful language or behavior, whether it is directly or indirectly threatening, and should immediately seek help to terminate any relationship with anyone who subjects them to such an experience.

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