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Most people see the two as different, but they are similar. Both Adolescent Dating Abuse and Domestic Violence are a pattern of abuse used to control another. There are many different types of abuse, including but not limited to - physical, emotional, verbal, and cyber/technological. All types of abuse can cause pain and leave scars. You do not have to be beaten to be hurt.
Yes, abuse can happen between friends, family members and casual relationships. Someone can mistreat you even if you are not dating them.
Leaving may not be a realistic choice for your friend. Victims of Adolescent Dating Abuse often experience shame and embarrassment. Their self-esteem has been crushed little by little by the abuser. They may also not be prepared for everyone in the social circle to learn of the abuse. There are many reasons why victims don't "leave." Leaving often doesn't mean the violence will end. In reality, the violence will escalate when the victim leaves. That's why it is so important to formulate a safety plan with a therapist, friend or advocate.
Listen to your friend and offer resources. Your friend needs someone that will listen without judgment or blame. Remind her/him that you are concerned for their mental and physical well being and that what is happening is not her/his fault. Offer them resources, like Laura's House website, www.laurashouse.org
The effects of dating abuse can last a lifetime. Victims are more likely to abuse drugs, drop out of school, suffer from depression and/or anxiety, have eating disorders, and attempt suicide. Victims often experience isolation and lose their sense of self.
There are many "RED FLAGS" or "Warning Signs" that you can look for in a potential abuser. We will offer you a list of red flags, but we encourage you to make a list of your own personal warnings signs that may or many not match what some one else identifies as a warning sign.
Common Red Flags:
Laura's House advocates can help you by offering you resources, therapy, counseling, creating a safety plan, preparing restraining orders, arranging court accompaniment, setting up regular therapy, and offering information on local support groups. You can also refer others to our teen site so that they can be educated.
A victim of abuse will not tell anyone, not even a best friend because it is embarrassing. The person sitting next to you in class or standing in line in front of you might be a victim or survivor of adolescent dating violence. Victims are from any walk of life, from any part of the world, and from all economic levels in our society. In Orange County the statistics indicate that 1:4 school students (boys and girls) is a victim of physical violence. 40% of teenage girls say they know someone their age who has been hit by a boyfriend.
You may never know for sure if someone is being abused, but there are some signs to look for that will give you a clue. The following are some signs of adolescent dating abuse:
Changing social beliefs, attitudes and the behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence while creating a safe space in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.View Laura's House