Are You A Teen In An Abusive Relationship? Here’s Help.

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Did you know that 1 out of 3 teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship, and 50%-80% know someone in a violent relationship? Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most susceptible to dating violence (triple the national average).

According to a survey by the CDC, 23% of females and 14% of males who experienced abuse by an intimate partner first experienced it between the ages of 11 and 17 years. Sadly, many of these young people fear reporting the abuse, so the number of abuse incidents is probably much higher.

Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP

Dating violence is a serious and widespread problem. We can help.

At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we want you to know that nothing gives anyone the right to abuse, intimidate or hurt you. If this is happening to you, we want to help stop it. We’ve got years of experience helping teens find solutions to abusive relationships. To learn about all the other things we can help with, from health concerns to bullying to issues with your parents, click here.

How healthy is your relationship?

Ask yourself these 10 essential questions to determine if you are in a healthy or an abusive relationship. According to Psychology Today, answering “yes” to any of them is a warning sign that you may be in an unhealthy relationship.

  1. Does your partner isolate you from your family and friends?
  2. Does your partner make you feel like everything is your fault?
  3. Does your partner physically, verbally, sexually, emotionally, mentally and/or financially abuse you?
  4. Does your partner control where you go?
  5. Does your partner control what you say, who you can or can’t talk to?
  6. Does your partner control what you wear?
  7. Does your partner threaten you in any way?
  8. Does your partner force you to do things you don’t want to do (including sex or other sexual things)?
  9. Does your partner make you cry more than smile?
  10. Does your partner argue with you all the time? Call you names? Put you down?

Why does teen dating violence happen?

Violence in a relationship rarely happens on its own but is often related to certain risk factors. The risk of having unhealthy relationships increases for teens who:

  • Believe that dating violence is acceptable
  • Are depressed, anxious or have other symptoms of trauma
  • Display aggressive behaviors
  • Use alcohol, drugs or other illegal substances
  • Engage in early sexual activity and have multiple sexual partners
  • Have a friend involved in teen dating violence
  • Have conflicts with a partner
  • Witness or experience violence at home

How to get out of an abusive relationship

Communicating with your partner, learning how to manage anger and jealousy, and treating each other with respect are a few ways to keep relationships healthy and nonviolent.

However, if you’re in an abusive relationship, you need to get out of it. Breaking up with someone who’s abusive can be really hard, especially if you love them. Just keep reminding yourself that you have to do what’s best for you. It’s not right for anyone to hurt you, make you feel bad about yourself, or pressure you to do things you don’t want to do.

Don’t be afraid to ask your parents, friends, a relative, a teacher or school counselor for help. Tell them what the other person has done to you and how they are treating you. Remember, the first step is telling someone about it.

When you’re ready to break up, don’t let your partner talk you out of it. If they threaten to hurt you or themselves or someone else, tell an adult you trust right away. Your safety is the most important thing. For more advice on ending abusive relationships, visit LoveisRespect.com.

Need help? Here are some numbers to call

Helpful websites

What is discussed with us stays with us

At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we want you to know that you can talk to us about relationships, your body, sex, sexuality, drugs, your parents, peer pressure, anything at all — and we will keep it confidential. Most of all, we want to help you be healthy, happy and safe, in any way we can.

Need to talk to someone about an abusive relationship? Come see us.

If you think you might be in an abusive relationship, or you know that you are, please come in and talk with one of our Westchester Health Pediatrics pediatricians. We’re here for you and we can get you help. We want you to know that we’ll do everything we can to support you and what you’re going through, and help you get a safe, healthy resolution. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

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By Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, a practicing pediatrician with Westchester Health Pediatrics, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners

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About the Author: ML Ball