February marks "Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month." While relationships can be one of the most fun, rewarding, amazing experiences, that isn't always the case... It's been noted that in the United States, approximately 10% of adolescents have reported suffering physical violence from their partner. Youths 12-19 years old are the highest number of adolescents who experience rape and sexual assault. While females are generally more vulnerable to dating violence, males experience it too (Youth.gov).

Dating violence often begins with a behavior that eventually turns into something physical

It's healthy to take a step back and look at your relationship in a fresh light. While you might think something as simple as a quick temper is "just how he is," it can quickly become uncontrollable and have negative consequences.

Now is the time to spot red flags and stop the abuse before it goes any further. Below is a list of red flags (bad things) and green flags (good things) in relationships: 

Red Flags & Green Flags

Jealousy/Controlling Character. Do they constantly want to know where you are and what you are doing? Are they jealous when you hang out with or talk about your friends?

Trust. Healthy relationship are built on mutual trust. They should trust you to hang out with other people and not feel the need to monitor your every move. 

Isolating You. Do they prevent you from hanging out with friends or family? 

Accessibility. They should want you to have friends and encourage you to hang out with the people you care about! 

Ignoring Your Boundaries. Do they do things in private or public that you have asked them not to do? (For instance, pinching or kissing you around others when you asked them not to or touching you in places you aren't comfortable with.)

Respect. They should respect your desires and wishes. Being a part of your life in a romantic way is a privilege, not an entitlement.

Uncontrollable Temper. When you say something they don't like, do they fly off the handle? Are you afraid to discuss hard things with them for fear of them becoming angry?

Self Control. You should never be afraid of your partner. He/she should always want you to express your opinions and desires, no matter how difficult the circumstance.

Threatening You. Do they threaten to leave you? Do they threaten to expose your secrets? Do they grab you in a bullying way then try to laugh it off, making it seem like "you're too sensitive"?

Comfort. Instead of walking on eggshells all the time, you should feel at peace and safe with them. 

What To Do

If you are experiencing dating violence or are in a relationship that could lead to violence, please seek help! 

Your safety is the most important thing.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

Text: START to 88788


Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. https://youth.gov/feature-article/teen-dating-violence-awareness-and-prevention-month

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