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I have been married to a wonderful man for 19 years. We were blessed with 2 beautiful daughters who are now teenagers. I homeschool my children and work full time outside of my home. I recently opened my Home Business

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SSSSHHHHH! It's a Secret! They Call it Love

The topic I have chosen to write on today can be considered by some to be taboo. It disturbs many people and from my experiences is not one that many people care to think about. Some may find this topic offensive, and if you are one who does, then please use your right not to read it.  However, I feel deep in my spirit that it is one that must be looked at and discussed. We must learn the warning signs and take steps to save ourselves, our children, and our friends.  My topic of choice today is ABUSE!

Abuse comes in many shapes and sizes and forms. Not all abuse leaves bruises on the skin for others to see.  It is harder to detect because there are no outside bruises, but it is abuse still the same! It is EMOTIONAL/VERBAL ABUSE!  It is JUST AS DANGEROUS as physical abuse and can lead to physical abuse!  What is Emotional/verbal abuse? It is your partner doing everything he/she can to retain control over you! It is a form of manipulation that TEARS YOU DOWN! It breaks your self esteem, isolates you from your family and your friend. It is I love you one minute, and we're through the next and it's always YOUR FAULT in his/her eyes. They almost never accept responsibility for their own actions. Even if they apologize, they finish their apology with you made me do it!  They brainwash you into thinking that your family,friends, and co-workers are your enemy and that they are the only person you have to turn to.

It is a cycle which HAS TO BE BROKEN! It is so rampant among teens, and carries on throughout adult life. If ignored, with no intervention, it can lead to DEATH!  I'm not trying to scare you, just open the eyes of everyone around! For too long, people have sat back and kept their mouths shut. They've not spoken out, then when their friends end up dead, they have to live with the regret of being quiet.

Here are some statistics for us to look at:

Dating Abuse Statistics
Adolescents and adults are often unaware how regularly dating abuse occurs.

  • 1 in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006).
  • 1 in 4 adolescents reports verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse each year (Foshee et al. 1996; Avery-Leaf et al. 1997).
  • 1 in 5 adolescents reports being a victim of emotional abuse (Halpern et al. 2001).
  • 1 in 5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner (Silverman et al. 2001).
  • Dating abuse occurs more frequently among black students (13.9%) than among Hispanic (9.3%) or white (7.0%) students (CDC 2006).
  • 72% of eighth and ninth graders reportedly “date” (Foshee et al. 1996); by the time they are in high school, 54% of students report dating abuse among their peers (Jafe et al. 1992).
Adolescents in Abusive Relationship Are at Risk for Health Problems
Adolescents and adults often don’t make the link between dating abuse and poor health.
  • 70% of girls and 52% of boys who are abused report an injury from an abusive relationship. (Foshee 1996).
  • 8% of boys and 9% of girls have been to an emergency room for an injury received from a dating partner(Foshee 1996).
  • Victims of dating abuse are not only at increased risk for injury, they are also more likely to engage in binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fights, and currently sexual activity (CDC 2006).
  • Rates of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use are more than twice as high in girls who report physical or sexual dating abuse than in girls who report no abuse (Plichta 1996).
  • Dating abuse is associated with unhealthy sexual behaviors that can lead to unintended pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, and HIV infections (Silverman et al. 2001).
  • Abusive dating experiences during adolescence may disrupt normal development of self-esteem and body image (Ackard and Neumark-Sztainer 2002).
  • Adolescents in abusive relationships often carry these unhealthy patterns of abuse into future relationships (Smith et al. 2003).
These statistics were found at CDC: Division of Violence Prevention.

Emotional abuse, which may include:

  • Name-calling, shouting, teasing, or bullying
  • Use of intimidation
  • Use of demeaning or derogatory language
  • Insults or rumors
  • Threats or accusations
  • Jealousy or possessiveness
  • Humiliation
  • Withdrawal of attention
  • Withholding of information
  • Deliberately doing something to make a dating partner feel diminished or embarrassed
  • Controlling behavior, such as dictating what a dating partner can wear
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Texting or instant messaging (IMing) excessively
  • Monitoring e-mail or a profile on a social networking site


Technology and Teen Dating Violence

Teen using a computer
Because teens are well connected through today's technology, cell phones and the Internet have become tools of dating violence through which emotional abuse and sexual violence can occur. More than 80% of adolescents own at least one form of new media technology (e.g., computer, cell phone)1 and they are using this technology with increasing frequency to text, IM, e-mail, blog, and access social networking websites.
Using technology to threaten, harass, or bully a peer is called electronic aggression, and a significant majority of parents are completely unaware that technology such as this poses a risk for teens.

Highlights from the research indicate that2:
  • 9% to 35% of young people say they have been the victim of electronic aggression.
  • A 50% increase in electronic aggression occurred between the years 2000 and 2005.
  • Electronic aggression victims are significantly more likely to use drugs and alcohol, receive school detentions or suspension, skip school, experience in-person aggression, have emotional distress, and have relationship problems with their parents.
  • Victimization occurs through all forms of technology: 25% in a chat room, 23% on a website, 67% with instant messaging, 25% through an email, 16% with a text message.
Consequences of electronic aggression:
  • Electronic messages—good and bad—retain a sense of "permanence." They can be saved and forwarded, and uploaded images cannot be fully deleted.
  • Teens may not realize the farther reaching consequences of posting information or images online.


Recognizing Risk Factors

Dating violence is not about love—it is about power and control. Dating violence involves a pattern of behaviors that one partner uses to try to control the other. These behaviors may include physical and sexual violence and emotional abuse.

Violence is a choice

Perpetrators of violence may feel insecure or uncertain about themselves or their lives, so they may use power and control in their relationships to make themselves feel better. But no matter what excuses perpetrators make to themselves or their dating partners for their behaviors, violence is still their choice.
The following factors may contribute to someone becoming a perpetrator of dating violence:
  • Believing that it is okay to use threats or violence to get their way or to express frustration or anger
  • Problems managing one's anger or frustration
  • Hanging out with violent peers
  • Having low self-esteem and depression
  • Not having parental supervision and support
  • Witnessing violence at home or in the community

If you are the one being abused, GET OUT NOW! Don't let it escalate any further. There are people that can help you!  If it is a friend or loved one that is being abused, don't ignore it! When they try to push you away [and they will because the abused tries to isolate them], stay right there! Report anything you see to their parents or authorities if necessary...but do all that you can to help this person you love!  Don't allow them to become another statistic and don't feel you can't help! You can. Speak up!

It is my prayer that something written here today has been beneficial to you and will help you be more aware of the things taking place around us every day.