Too often, scars are not only physical; they are commonly psychological scrapes and bruises used to intimidate and break the soul of a person. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that estimates 9% of all teens are victims of dating abuse. Due to maturity levels, most teens have a hard time discerning heated relationship spats or constructive criticism from emotional or mental abuse. As a parent, friend, relative, or mentor of young girls actively engaged in dating it is important to watch for the warning signs of emotional abuse at the hands of a partner. ABC’s 20/20 compiled a list of warning signs that she’s dating an active abuser or potential abuser.
1. Isolation: Before she met him she had a more active social, school, and/or religious life.
2. Intimidation: He may not physically harm her, yet frequently breaks or hits inanimate objects.
3. Degrading “jokes”: He may call her a demeaning pet name, then laugh it off in jest.
4. Critical: Constant criticism of appearance, talents, or abilities.
5. Imitation: He may come from a “tragic” home life of abuse as a witness or victim.
The results of abuse manifest themselves in various ways. One common result, is what 1 in 4 girls says, is pressured sex, according to a study conducted by stayteen.org. Some professionals amount the behavior of mental or emotional abuse to pressure partners into sexual intercourse as ‘psychological induced’ rape. To protect young women, it is important to arm them with knowledge surrounding the three different types of abuse: physical, emotional, and sexual. One or more of these abuse types may be at play at the time.
If you or someone you know is a victim or emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse, seek help. If you are the abused party, the witness of the abuse, or the abuser please speak with an adult in your life or call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 (1-866-331-8453 for the hearing impaired) or online at www.loveisrespect.org. Help is immediate, local, accessible 24/7, and confidential.